Sunday, August 15, 1999

S-curve work alters traffic

Northbound lanes to be redirected

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FORT MITCHELL — Although the $21 million refiguration of the S-curve on Interstate 71/75 in Northern Kentucky is proceeding as planned, motorists will soon face another traffic diversion.

        Engineers will change the traffic pattern in early September so construction can be completed on the northbound portion through the project area, said Joe Kearnes, state highway department chief district engineer.

        Traffic from the northbound lanes will be redirected onto an old portion of the highway no longer in use. This will allow construction workers to finish repairs to the northbound lanes, including the ramps.

        The S-curve project, begun nearly two years ago, was designed to replace the accident-prone stretch of I-71/75 between Fort Mitchell and Fort Wright with a longer, less angular turn that should be safer for motorists. The project, which spans 1.3 miles, begins 3,000 feet south of Dixie Highway and ends at Kyles Lane.

        When completed, I-71/75 will have three northbound and four southbound lanes, with one southbound lane for trucks coming uphill from the Brent Spence Bridge.

        Although the construction has faced some setbacks, Mr. Kearnes thinks the project will be finished on deadline.

        “The project is progressing on schedule,” he said. “We're on track to meet our target date to have traffic in their normal lanes by Nov. 1.”

        Delays occurred in April when construction workers had to rip out nearly all the pavement laid the previous fall. The durability of the pavement came into question when highway inspectors noticed “blisters” in the concrete on the southbound I-71/75 ramp at Dixie Highway.

        Nearly 1,000 feet of concrete was removed from the main highway north and southbound near the Orchard Street Bridge as well as part of the I-71/75 northbound on-ramp to Dixie Highway.

        Michael Shayeson, president of W.L. Harper Construction, said no cause had been determined for the defective concrete, although it is still being investigated.


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