Roundabout may be in future for city intersection

Published 4:16 pm Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The city of Middlesboro may soon see a new roundabout, as a plan to construct the traffic device at a local intersection is in the initial phases.

According to Middlesboro Mayor Rick Nelson, the project is intended to be an improvement to the intersection of Winchester Avenue and South 30th Street, also known as KY 2019 and KY 2401.

Department of Highways District 11 Public Information Officer Les Dixon confirmed the project is part of a highway safety improvement program intended to address the issue of vehicle crashes at the intersection. The project will utilize federal funding. The project is in the beginning stages, and no construction date has been scheduled. Following a planned public outreach and comment period, more information will be made available.

Nelson said the city will be meeting with state officials to discuss the project today (Wednesday).

“About three weeks ago, we received word from the transportation cabinet they had funding from Washington D.C. to do some safety projects in the area,” Nelson said. “One of the things they had been looking at was the traffic situation on Winchester and 30th Street.”

Nelson pointed out the intersection involves state roads.

“We’re going to be meeting with them to take a look at things,” Nelson said. “The big issue we have from the city’s point of view is there are a lot of very old sewer lines there…We want to make sure we’re not getting stuck with something we might be financially liable for if something happens.”

Nelson said he has spoken with officials in London, KY, concerning a roundabout there, and was advised it has worked well.

“It handles things beautifully, even the big trucks,” Nelson said.

Nelson mentioned there has been talk previously of other remedies for the intersection, which has been the scene of multiple vehicle crashes.

“You don’t want to put a signal light there, I don’t think that would be practical, Nelson said. “I’m going to keep an open mind – again, it’s the state doing it – I just want to make sure as far as the sewer line goes that we’re not getting into something that’s going to cost us money at the end of the day.”

Nelson explained the city of Middlesboro will not be responsible for any funding for the project.