Traffic concerns emerge as construction closes Paducah interchange ramps

Story by Ava Chuppe

Contributing writer

am.chuppe@gmail.com

Drivers can expect to take an alternate route to the Kentucky Oaks Mall area in Paducah for over a month. 

To enable construction of various improvements along the U.S. 60 mall exit, entry and exit ramps at the I-24 interchange will be closed.

The improvements, which include a new Double Crossover Diamond (DCD) on the highway, are expected to keep the ramps connecting U.S. 60 and I-24 closed for up to five weeks. 

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) spokesman Keith Todd said motorists can reduce traffic by using several alternative routes.

On July 8, KYTC workers monitored traffic flow along the detour. Signal technicians were appointed around the Exit 3 interchange to alter signal phasing based on changes in flow during peak hours of traffic. However, backups occurred due to disabled traffic signals, resulting in the removal of these signals to prevent further backups. KYTC personnel will continue to monitor traffic flow and make modifications when required.

Because Exit 4 ramps are closed, drivers entering Paducah from Murray should follow the marked detour on the I-24 interchange via Exit 3. Drivers wishing to enter Paducah through U.S. 60 East have a detour through Charter Oak Drive and Coleman Road, and those seeking to enter through U.S. 60 West should go through Olivet Church Road and New Holt Road.

KYTC engineers are encouraging motorists traveling in and out of Paducah to consider detours to help ease traffic congestion along the official alternate route. The KYTC will provide notice when night closures of U.S. 60 begin around July 22 as traffic on the highway is projected to move to the new DCD configuration after the first few nights of paving.

The DCD is expected to be complete by Aug. 12, when the contractor must reopen U.S. 60 and the exit ramps. Jim Smith Contracting of Grand Rivers is the prime contractor of the DCD construction project, which cost $9,179,425.

The target date for completion of the project is Nov. 20. Until then, drivers can expect traffic congestion along the marked detours, which might mean leaving earlier in order to reach Paducah at a particular time.