Kentucky 15 project moving along, expect upcoming change in traffic pattern

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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Drivers in Hazard and Perry County are very familiar with the orange glow of traffic cones.

The Kentucky 15 improvement project has created headaches for more than three years.

Tuesday, drivers will see a change that marks the beginning stages of completion of part one of the massive overhaul.

"Traffic from Morton Boulevard will access Kentucky 15 from what will be the ramp when that becomes a grade-separated interchange," said H.B. Elkins the Public Information Officer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's District 10.

The switch is from the Hal Rogers/Highway 80 overpass to the Morton Boulevard interchange. It is a temporary lane shift that will be in place for a few months while crews work on building a bridge that will eventually allow a left turn from Morton Boulevard to Highway 15.

"It's the same contractor that's doing both contracts and that makes it easy to coordinate the work," said Elkins.

The project from Morton Boulevard on down to the Hazard Bypass is nowhere near as far along as the Bonnyman to Morton Boulevard project is.

"Project one, all it needs is some work there at the Hal Rogers and Kentucky 80 interchange and final paving the bridge is done there at Bonnyman so that's probably 80 percent finished maybe more. The second project is nowhere near as far along," said Elkins.

The road may be presenting headaches now, but in the end, it will provide a much better experience for all of those involved.

"It should make traffic flow a whole lot smoother through that area, and it will make access to the businesses, and the hospital and the residences that are located on or along or just off of Morton boulevard. So, it really is a big improvement it will be something very beneficial for the people that use that road every day, not just for the people who live and work in Hazard," said Elkins.

The intersection change will take effect Tuesday. The exit ramp on eastbound Hal Rogers Parkway/Highway 80 to Kentucky 15 will be shut down from 9 to 11 a.m. Drivers heading south on Kentucky 15 are urged to use Morton Boulevard. Drivers heading north will need to drive up to the Daniel Boone Plaza and safely turn around an exit on the southbound ramp.

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