US 421 – Leestown Road, Improvement Strategy and Design
This project involved Phase I and Phase II Design for a 3.4-mile section of US 421 in the eastern fringe of Frankfort and Franklin County. It was developed from a Phase I Design project encompassing a more extensive project. That project included the preparation and approval of an environmental document and the selection of an improvement strategy. It was more or less within the existing road corridor and with attention to existing scattered developments. The project was significantly revised after the right of way and utility relocations were complete. These revisions would change the roadway from rural to urban and incorporate a shared-use path for much of the length.
A new county elementary school came about on the north side. By the time the construction was complete, three schools developed in this area. This redevelopment quickly supported the critical decision to change from a rural roadway to an urban roadway. But more importantly, it prompted the decision to provide a safer road environment for the expected and recent developments.
Access management was a significant issue throughout the project. Transitioning from full control to partial control to permit access was especially challenging. The Good Shepherd Church on the north side and Storage Facilities/Glenn Toyota dealership on the south side made it difficult. We included a raised median through this section, and a median transition developed from a concrete barrier wall to median curbs with grass to a flush median. Additionally, our design added a frontage road along the south side providing a right in-right out access for the church on the north side. DLZ reviewed the work planned on the interchange through a “Practical Solutions” approach and deferred approximately $1.0 million of reconstruction. A review of current traffic volumes and operational issues within the existing interchange prompted this decision.
As construction neared completion, the Legislature included funding for an additional change within the interchange. The intention was to expand the left turn from US 60 SB to US 421 EB to a dual left-turn lane. The change also made way to widen the ramp to two lanes for this expanded movement. We worked directly with the Resident Engineer while maintaining contact with the District 5 Design Office to expedite work and revise construction plans.