Confusing construction at I-24/Purchase Parkway Interchange

Photo contributed by Nick Leatherman/The News

Story by James Turner, Contributing writer 

Confusing new flyover and temporary signs have led some Murray State commuters in the wrong direction.

The new ramp leads up to a bridge that appears to lead to Nashville, prompting Paducah or Calvert City bound motorists to skip it only to realize missing the ramp sent them east on I-24.

Amber Volle, senior public relations major from Golconda, Illinois, commutes every Tuesday and Thursday to campus from Paducah where she has a full time job. Her GPS did not help her with the new road.

“I ended up in Possum Trot the first time and heading towards Nashville the second time, so I don’t know what I did wrong, but it was bad,” Volle said.  “I feel like there wasn’t enough information given to us.”

Public Information Officer for Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Keith Todd, said permanent signage for the new flyover leading to Paducah and Calvert City is slated to arrive in the next month or two.

Speed reduction signs are still in place for what Todd said is still an “active work zone.”

“As an extra safety measure for both the public and for workers, we’re going to keep that 45 mile per hour work zone speed limit in place for a while,” Todd said.

Volle wasn’t the only one inconvenienced by the construction.

Chelsea Tucker, sophomore television production major from Paducah, Kentucky, works at WPSD. She commutes from Paducah to Murray two days a week for classes and passes through the construction. Tucker didn’t get lost, but she was delayed in the earlier stages of the construction.

“When it first started, it slowed me down about 10 minutes, but then I got used to it,” Tucker said.

Todd said the purpose of the construction is to accommodate I-69, which will eventually merge with southbound Purchase Parkway. Once the new interchange, and a similar project in Mayfield, is complete, with permission from the Federal Highway Administration, I-69 will be extended to exit 14. With a major interstate nearby, businesses in places like Wingo and Mayfield will have an easier time telling people where they are located.

Construction on the interchange started in March 2016, and is about 79 percent complete, with a projected completion date of July 1, 2018.

The entire project costs over $37.86 million.

There are also plans to extend the interstate down to the state line to connect with Tennessee’s portion of I-69.