By C. Josh Givens
The Kentucky Department of Highways is scheduled to begin work to widen the shoulder of Kentucky Highways 657/Fourth Street in Lewisport this week, though weather may delay the start of the project, according to Mayor Chad Gregory.
Gregory said the current lanes of travel along the road are “wider than necessary,” which gives project leaders room to expand one shoulder to eight feet.
“The shoulder will be paved and will provide a safe walking space for citizens walking the route,” Gregory said. “We have a number of citizens who walk to the shopping center, and we want them to able to do it safely. This is something for everybody; it will be ideal for runners and bikers, too.”
The mayor said the state reached out to the city following the tragic death of Mary Alig, 62, who was struck while walking southbound against northbound traffic just after sunset on May 16. Alig died a few days later at Owensboro Health.
“I have been in city government since 1998, worked under two other mayors, and we’ve all wanted sidewalks or the speed limit lowered from 45 for all that time,” Gregory said. “We just never could make any headway.”
Gregory said while the state will fund the work on the roadway, the city has plans to later add decorative lampposts along the route, similar to those in downtown Lewisport.
“These things do take time, so I ask citizens to be patient with us,” he said. “We’re going to be looking into grant opportunities to take the walkway all the way to the shopping center, with the lampposts. The state believes this will help slow traffic just through the psychological aspect of seeing the lamps, the trail, perhaps railings, and people walking along the route.”
Gregory said city leaders would love to see the speed limit on the roadway reduced to 35 mph, but “the state has the mentality of moving traffic along, not slowing it down.”
“We are going to celebrate the progress we’re making, and plan for other things to help grow our city and make it safer,” Gregory said. “This is a big step in the right direction.”