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August completion date planned for Ash Avenue again

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By Andrew Henderson

The long delayed Ash Avenue project in Pewee Valley is planned to resume in the coming weeks and be finished by the fall.

Information about the future of the project came during a May 8 meeting at the Pewee Valley Fire Department. Magistrate Chris Haunz, Rep. Jason Nemes and three Kentucky Transportation Cabinet employees addressed concerns about the project, which has been delayed since last year.

“The feedback we get today is going to help us moving forward,” State Highway Engineer Andy Barber said.

Homeowners on Ash Avenue, and in nearby subdivisions, came out to the meeting and voiced their disappointment with the lack of progress on the project.

The state funded project to replace and install new culverts on Ash Avenue, and under the entrance to the Ashbrooke subdivision, was delayed in early November due to the discovery of a previously unknown sewer line in the area.

Public Information Officer Andrea Clifford told the Era their contractor for the project, TSI Construction, located in New Albany, Indiana, had to order pipes, headwalls and manholes for the replacement of the sewer pipe.

The Oldham County Environmental Authority (OCEA) owns the pipe in question.

Several residents told transportation officials they’ve been dismayed by the lack of communication about what was happening with the project.

“We’ve been left in the dark for months, we had a right to know what was going on,” one woman in attendance said.

Matthew Bullock, KYTC District 5 chief district engineer, said while the cabinet has had to work with OCEA for a new design of the sewer line they too were oftentimes left without updates.

“We agree, we left you guys in the dark about a lot of this,” Bullock said.

Pressed for definitive dates about the project’s timeline moving forward, Kyle Parks, who is in charge of maintenance and construction services for the district, said the sewer line will be relocated in the next three to four weeks. Ash Avenue will not be shut down except for the final paving on the road, which will likely take place at night, Parks said.

Parks said the date for the project’s completion, including the installation of culverts and repaving, will be Aug. 1 of this year.

“To me, that’s a little frustrating to hear that,” Nemes said of the estimated August completion date.

The Ash Avenue project was initially scheduled for completion in August 2018.

Ash Avenue homeowners, such as Rusty Mays, spoke out about the state of their yards.

In Mays’ case in particular, the lack of action on the project has meant equipment has lain inactive in his yard for some time and patches of grass have been torn up.

Mays, like eight other homeowners along Ash Avenue, signed easement agreements with the transportation cabinet where they were paid by the state to allow them to encroach on their property for the project.

“I want a yard by this summer,” Mays said at the meeting.

Ash Avenue has been closed between Dunnlea Drive and Ashbrooke Drive since August for the installation of the culvert. Last November, a temporary traffic signal was installed which allowed the route to be reopened to one lane.

Many people said their mail hasn’t been delivered to their homes because the post office wouldn’t send carriers down the one lane road due to safety concerns. This meant many had to get their mail in-person at the post office.

Residents also said while the speed limit has been reduced, motorists, once out of the reduced speed area, have been speeding down the road. Several requested additional police presence from the county to combat this.

To remedy this, Haunz two radar speed signs will be posted around the high-speed areas in the coming weeks.

An arrangement was made that any additional questions and concerns people had regarding the Ash Avenue project would be directed toward Haunz who would serve as a point person between residents and transportation officials.

He can be reached at chaunz@oldhamcountyky.gov or (502) 643-6724.

The original cost of construction for the project was $290,000. With the size of the new culverts and the relocation of utilities taken into consideration, the construction is now contracted at $639,452, which is state funded.