Improvement project tears out Frederica median

Photo by Greg Eans, Messenger-Inquirer | geans@messenger-inquirer.com Robert Thomas, left, moves a road cone as Jeff Wallace operates a mini excavator while the two, both with Yager Materials, work Tuesday on the widening of the intersection at Goetz Drive, Salem Drive, and Frederica Street.

Part of the project to improve the intersection of Salem Drive and Frederica Street has taken longer than expected and involved tearing out the median in Owensboro's southside business corridor.

According to officials with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, removing the concrete and green space median between the U.S. 60 bypass and Carlton Drive will give vehicles in that area a larger turning radius, potentially cutting down on accidents.

"Overall, it improves traffic flow in that area," said KYTC spokesman Keith Todd on Tuesday. "It provides more space in general."

Popular businesses on Salem Drive, like Chick-fil-A, the Marriott Fairfield Inn and Bridgewater Medical Center have experienced weekend entrance closures for nearly three weeks as contractors work to enlarge the portion of the roadway that fronts Frederica Street. Chick-fil-A, in particular, experiences heavy weekday traffic flow, which may be improved by giving westbound traffic more space to maneuver, Todd said.

Rain delays have been a concern at the intersection as well. Weekend closures were initially expected to take just two weeks, but rain hindered the contractor's ability to pour hot asphalt.

Now, attention has focused on those medians, where concrete and green space has already been removed and given way to an initial layer of asphalt, which will be built up and painted to give turning lanes more space and improve the overall experience for drivers in that area.

Salem Drive turns into Goetz Drive across Frederica Street, and the KYTC has had its eyes on at least two long-term projects to improve traffic on that road as well. Projects include widening the road to allow for turning lanes where needed and extending the roadway to intersect with Martin Luther King Loop West just southwest of Sam's Club.

Austin Ramsey, 270-691-7302, aramsey@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @austinrramsey

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