Story by Alicia Steele, Assistant News Editor
The ongoing expansion project of Route 121 separating the CFSB center and Lowes has been delayed because of rain, city officials said. However, they hope to have the project completed within the coming months.
“What dictates a lot of the construction on 121 is weather, and as you can tell, we’ve had a lot of rain over the last couple of weeks, if not months,” said Aaron Dail, president of the Murray-Calloway County Chamber of Commerce. “But their goal is to have it done around Halloween.”
Dail said Mike McGregor, an engineer out of Paducah for the Kentucky Department of Transportation, gave the estimated date.
Dail said the Chamber of Commerce has had no complaints from citizens of Murray about the construction, but have had questions asked about how long the process will take.
“I think a lot of people want to see it done sooner rather than later,” Dail said. “But unfortunately, no one can control the weather.”
Jack Rose, mayor of Murray, said the rain has slowed down the process, but even before the rain he was discouraged about how slowly the project was moving.
“It’s been a real nightmare I think for the people here,” Rose said.
Rose said he believes contractors in the area are busy with all of the highway construction in western Kentucky.
“And I suspect that probably, and this is just my suspicion, that they have taken probably as much or more than they can just about do,” Rose said.
He said the timing of the project is discouraging because of the increase in traffic. However, he said he was encouraged to see pavement being laid on the northbound lanes within the last week.
Students however are concerned with how long the expansion is taking.
Briana Enzweiler, senior from Alexandria, Kentucky, said commuting through the construction of Route 121 is a pain.
“It’s slow, the roads are bumpy and the fact that some of the side roads are closed to thru traffic makes it even worse,” Enzweiler said. “It seems like it’s taken them forever and they aren’t even done yet.”
Joel Stegner, sophomore from Florence, Kentucky, and transfer student from Eastern Kentucky University said commuting to campus through the construction traffic is the biggest hassle he’s ever had to deal with regarding traffic.
“I have visited here multiple times within the last year and have seen the construction going on and it makes me wonder what those construction workers are actually doing if it isn’t already finished,” Stegner said.
Rose said he thinks the project is a legitimate concern and is taking much longer than it should have, but he believes it will benefit Murray.
“Honestly, it’s going to be a great project,” Rose said. “Everybody’s going to be proud of it, I think.”