Above: Workers from Nally & Haydon were busy Wednesday afternoon removing the center lane in front of the St. Catharine College Campus to make room for a landscaped median which will serve as an official entrance to the College.
Everybody experiences growing pains at some point in their life, and St. Catharine College is no exception to the rule. One of the side effects of the College’s current expansion and beautification projects is the inconvenience to students, visitors, faculty and staff dealing with major construction. But SCC President William D. Huston assures the entire college community that the end result will be well-worth the temporary headaches.
“This is going to be great for the College in many ways as far as appearance and safety,” said Huston. “We’re excited at the fact that the state is going to transfer what is now old US-150 from Locust Lane by the roundabout down to our current main entrance to Washington County. The county will then transfer that property to the College and that will become our entryway. Within the next two weeks, we’ll have the median cut out, nice green grass put in and curbs along the route. It’s going to be a beautiful entrance into the Campus.”
The construction of the new US-150 Springfield Bypass is what opened the door for the College’s project. The new bypass took 210 working days to complete at a cost of over $17 million. The 3.48-mile stretch of highway connects US-150 just west of St. Catharine College and KY-555 near Springfield.
“The stretch of road in front of St. Catharine will go to the county and it’s up to them to work with the College as to who will take ownership of it,” said Patty Dunaway, Chief Engineer for District 4 of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. “Once we call the project complete, then the deed would be transferred. It will take several months before it goes through the legal process, but the paperwork has already started.”
Dunaway added the College will be accessible from the bypass via an access road that leads into a roundabout, allowing for local traffic to enter the College to the west or travel east along old US-150.
“We have a roundabout design for the interchange In front of the College rather than the typical T intersection,” she said. “We saw that as a good entry point into downtown Springfield as well as St. Catharine, so we think it’s going to be aesthetically pleasing as well as functioning well to get traffic from downtown to the bypass and vice versa.”
Washington County Judge-Executive John Settles said he hopes the new bypass will cut down on accidents along the route.
“I think this is going to mean a great improvement in safety,” said Settles. “Over the years, we’ve had several accidents and a few fatalities from students and visitors turning into the Campus. I also think it will greatly improve the visual image of the College because it’s going to be an official entrance to the College. Before, people always drove by and maybe looked at it going by, but now there is going to be signage on the road that will direct people to the College.”
Settles said the transfer of the old road has to go through the proper channels and the fact remains that several county residents still live on that section of old US-150.
“The way things have to transpire, that road becomes public property and it has to go to the next government agency in the county,” Settles added. “That section will become county-maintained road. With an agreement with St. Catharine, the Kentucky Transportation Department and the people who live on that road, because there are still four or five residents who live on that section of road, with their blessing, that road would be turned over to St. Catharine and become their property. The access road from the bypass and US-150 east into Springfield will still be owned and maintained by the state.”
During this time of construction, the College is asking everyone to use extreme caution entering and exiting the Campus.
Above: Travelers will have to get used to a new traffic pattern as they travel old US-150 to connect to the new bypass.