By William Croyle
ERLANGER - The $28 million Turkeyfoot Road project is on schedule to be finished in 2007, but a portion of the new five-lane highway could be opened to motorists as early as next summer.
Once known for its dangerous dips, curves and accidents, the two-lane road is being turned into a flatter, straighter, safer drive from Edgewood to Independence.
The project includes widening a four-mile segment from Dudley Road in Edgewood to Bristow Road in Independence to five lanes - two northbound, two southbound and a center turn lane - with sidewalks on both sides.
The first of three phases started two years ago in Erlanger in the middle of the four-mile stretch, from Brightleaf Boulevard to Lindenwood Drive. Brightleaf was built to replace the winding, hazardous Narrows Road off Turkeyfoot while the steep hill on Turkeyfoot at the Narrows Road intersection was eliminated.
"Before that was done, we could sit a police cruiser at that intersection when it rained and just wait for an accident to happen," said Erlanger Mayor Marc Otto.
Otto said the residential growth near Brightleaf in the last few years also made the reconstruction necessary.
According to the state highway department, 15,200 cars a day drove on Turkeyfoot Road through Erlanger in 2000. Last year, that number jumped to 17,000. This year's projected daily average is 17,600.
Phase two is north of phase one and runs from Lindenwood Drive up to Dudley Road. It started last year and should be done by the end of summer 2005.
"At that point we'll open five lanes, probably from Dudley through Brightleaf," said Larry Trenkamp, branch manager of construction for the state highway department.
Phase three is scheduled to start next spring. It's at the southern end of Turkeyfoot and runs from Brightleaf to Bristow Road. That phase of the project will cost $10 million, which includes the purchase of 64 parcels of land, including 15 homes.
When the three phases are complete, the state will conduct studies on where to put traffic lights.
"Wherever existing lights are, they will remain," said Trenkamp. "We'll wait until the road is utilized for a while and then do traffic counts before deciding what more to put in there."
Other features of the Turkeyfoot Road project
A redesign of the intersection of Turkeyfoot, Richardson, Independence Station, Hunters Green and Bristow roads to a square, four-way intersection.
Richardson Road will be redesigned so it intersects with Turkeyfoot Road at St. Barbara Church.
Lily Drive will be closed at Turkeyfoot and turned into a cul-de-sac at that end. The other end of Lily will be opened to Richardson Road.
A new Autumn Road about 500 feet north of Brightleaf is being built to replace the temporary Autumn Road used today. The new road will allow access to Turkeyfoot Acres subdivision.
Stevenson Road will be connected with Meadowlark Lane.
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