Several readers made comments about Sunday’s post “What’s Up With the Bypass?” and asked some very good questions about the “bypass” reconstruction project. In response, OwensboroLiving asked the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet for more clarification:
Readers asked: If the 60 bypass is no longer called the “bypass,” what is it called?
The former bypass should now properly be referred to as US 60/The Wendell Ford Expressway. It is no longer a bypass and there is no US 60-Business.
Readers asked: Why was it changed?
Several years ago, the city requested US Hwy 60 be taken out of downtown to reduce through-traffic and encourage pedestrian activities. At that time the former bypass became US 60. 4th Street and 2nd Street are now just city streets (except a few short sections that are state highways to provide continuity for connections to the Blue Bridge).
Since US Highways have to end at other US Highways, US 431 now ends at US 60 near the mall. Frederica Street, which formerly carried US 431 on into downtown is now designated KY 2831.
Readers asked: Then what is East 60 (E 4Th Street) called now?
The end of US 60 at McDonalds/Rural King is now part of KY 603 which is the number applied to the Pleasant Valley Road Connector. From that point eastward, East 4th St became part of KY 144 when the US 60 Extension opened last September.
The bigger picture: Sometimes progress is painful. It may look like Kentucky Transportation Cabinet just all-of-a-sudden decided to rip out US Hwy 60 (the former bypass) and replace it, but in reality, the changes that we are seeing now have been in the planning stages for years. The whole point is to streamline traffic around Owensboro, keep heavy trucks out of downtown, make the new hospital easily accessible, and provide industries with smoother connections to the Natcher Parkway, Audubon Parkway, I-64, and the future I-69 corridor. Once this project is finished and we have all gotten used to it, our commutes should be quicker, easier, and smoother than before.