PERRY COUNTY — The State Department’s road crew for District 10 has been working hard recently, with highway construction underway in multiple corners of Perry County. Another project begins Aug. 1 as workers replace the three railroad crossings on Hwy. 15 between the communities of Jeff and Vicco.
Motorists should be on the lookout for road crews at mile-points 2.202, 2.546 and 3.632, south of Hazard. Most local citizens are familiar with the trio of railroad crossings along that particular stretch of road. Commuters traveling to, or from, Whitesburg, Vicco and Hindman via Hwy. 15 will need to adjust their schedules to prepare for possible delays.
Passenger cars can use local detours while the crossings are closed for replacement. A temporary diversion will be installed for the southernmost crossing. The middle crossing can be bypassed by using Happy Circle, and the northernmost crossing can be bypassed by using Ben Town Circle. All of the crossings receiving replacement are subject to closure throughout the entire day and night, but engineers estimate that, if all goes smoothly, each project should take only about eight hours.
Monday, Aug. 1, is when the first phase of construction begins, which involves the northernmost crossing. The middle crossing is scheduled to receive replacing on Tuesday and the southernmost crossing will have its turn on Wednesday. Construction of the temporary diversion for the southernmost crossing will also begin on Monday.
Drivers of passenger cars should be mindful of the fact that the designated detour routes run through communities that are not accustomed to receiving such a heavy flow of traffic. Be aware of your surroundings and drive safely.
Trucks and other large vehicles will be unable to use the local detours. A signed detour will be posted using Kentucky Hwy. 7 between Isom and Jeff. Drivers may also wish to use Kentucky Hwy. 160 and Kentucky Hwy. 80 via Hindman as an alternate route.
Once the railroad crossings have been replaced, Hwy. 15 will reopen, but milling and paving operations at the approaches to the crossings will be underway, so additional travel delays can be expected while this work is ongoing.
Along with the project beginning Aug. 1, State road crews have also been expanding Hwy. 15 near the Hal Rogers Parkway intersection. Resurfacing work on the Hal Rogers Parkway near Exit 56 in Perry County has also been part of the recent agenda.
Unless unforeseen circumstances develop, replacement of the three Hwy 15 railroad crossings south of Hazard will be completed on Wednesday, Aug. 3. Inclement weather could prolong the process. If adjustments to the construction’s schedule are necessary, motorists will be notified through the Department of Highways District 10 Facebook and Twitter accounts using the hashtag #KY15RailroadCrossings.
Sam Neace can be reached at 606-629-3243 or on Twitter HazardHerald.