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Paris Pike - Kentucky

Project Abstract

Paris Pike is a US urban/rural primary route between the northern limits of Lexington and the southern limits of Paris, serving commuters as well as through travelers on a segment officially designated as a scenic route. The project involved reconstruction of an existing two-lane road into a four-lane over a distance of approximately 13.5 miles. The need for this improvement is based on Paris Pikeメs importance in the regional transportation system, i.e. its system linkage, its lack of sufficient capacity to adequately serve not only projected travel but also existing traffic demands, inadequate existing roadway geometrics and design features, safety considerations, and social demands. A wide range of context sensitive issues were addressed as part of the construction, impacting both the natural and human environments.



kentucky, paris, guardrail: Steel-backed timber guardrail was used to provide driver safety while giving strong consideration to aesthetics.
Steel-backed timber guardrail was used to provide driver safety while giving strong consideration to aesthetics.
Project Description Paris Pike is a US urban/rural primary route between the northern limits of Lexington and the southern limits of Paris. The project involved reconstruction of an existing two-lane road into a four-lane over a distance of approximately 13.5 miles. The route served commuters as well as through travelers on a segment officially designated as a scenic route. There were four construction sections included in the project. Purpose and Need Statement The purpose of this project is to improve a 13-mile section of US 27/68 between Lexington and Paris, Kentucky. The need for this improvement is based on Paris Pikeメs importance in the regional transportation system, i.e. its system linkage, its lack of sufficient capacity to adequately serve not only projected travel but also existing traffic demands, inadequate existing roadway geometrics and design features, safety considerations, and social demands. Context-Sensitive Factors A wide range of sensitive issues were addressed as part of the construction, impacting both the natural and human environments. Context-sensitive design and construction issues which were implemented as part of the Paris Pike project included the following:
  • Silt loam topsoil, which was critical to the central Kentucky horse farm industry, was stripped, stockpiled and returned to the original thickness after grade and drain work was completed.
  • Roadway alignment was selected to avoid and minimize impacts to historical properties and structures. Dry-stone walls were prominent along the corridor and approximately three miles of walls were dismantled and reconstructed or newly constructed. Historic signature entrances to horse farms were avoided where practical and where impacted, new entrances were built to match the original entrances as part of the contract cost.
  • Timber guardrail was used for aesthetics, with steel backing for structural integrity.
  • Stone facade matching indigenous stone outcrops was applied to concrete bridge structures.
  • Extensive landscaping with local plant species was included. Roadway alignment and median widths were selected to minimize impact to matriarchal trees. Extensive tree protection was maintained to prevent root zone damage to mature trees. Utility easement modifications were coordinated to lessen impact on trees. An endangered species, Running Buffalo Clover, was transplanted to a fence-protected easement purchased specifically for this purpose.
  • Grass shoulders along the roadway were selected and designed/constructed as functional and aesthetic features of the roadway.
  • Water channel changes were combined to minimize and control erosion.
  • Archaeological site investigations were performed at Monterey and McConnel Station.
History of Project Paris Pike has been designated as a historic scenic corridor marking an early Kentucky trail that connected Maysville, Kentucky on the Ohio River to Lexington, Kentucky. Native Americans first used this route to follow herds of grazing buffalo. Later, the route was used by early settlers of central Kentucky. Paris Pike was one of the first roads built west of the Allegheny Mountains. In recent years Paris Pike became recognized for its safety and capacity problems. Although the overall accident rate was not greater than the average for all two-lane roads, the fatal accident rate was significantly higher. Factors which contributed to the high fatal accident rate were relatively narrow lane widths, lack of adequate shoulders, inadequate clear zones, steep ditches and side slopes, insufficient passing sight distances, fixed objects along the roadside, and various scenic distractions. Highway Agency Involvement The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet had significant involvement beginning with the preliminary planning studies that were initiated in 1966 to identify safety and traffic operations improvements. Their involvement continued throughout the project and was critical to the evolution of events and eventual progress that occurred on the project.
Further Reading:
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Steel-backed timber guardrail was used to provide driver safety while giving strong consideration to aesthetics.
    
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Steel-backed timber guardrail was used to provide driver safety while giving strong consideration to aesthetics.
The roadway was aligned to miss historical properties and structures.
    
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The roadway was aligned to miss historical properties and structures.
A house on the Historic Registry was refurbished as an interpretive center.
    
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A house on the Historic Registry was refurbished as an interpretive center.
The roadway was aligned to miss historic mortar-less stone walls.
    
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The roadway was aligned to miss historic mortar-less stone walls.
    
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