In Aug. 28 - Sept. 3 issueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal ReporterABOVE: A worker installs one of a set of lights at the new intersection at Russell Co. Middle School and French Valley Road.
RUSSELL SPRINGS - People may soon have to make one more stop than they're used to when traveling U.S. 127 between Russell Springs and Jamestown.
New traffic lights were installed late last week at the entrance to the middle and high schools and French Valley Road at a new intersection created to match the roadways.
They should be operable by September 8, according to Tammy Wilson, District 8 traffic branch manager for engineering support with the Department of Highways in Somerset.
Wilson said the lights need to be flashed for one week prior to them becoming operational on a full-time basis. She said by the end of this week the lights should be flashing enabling the Dept. of Highways to put the lights to use on Monday, Sept. 8.
She said the installation of the traffic lights were done by Elliot Electric under a contract between the state and the central Kentucky electric company.
The traffic light installation is part of the French Valley Road, or Ky 3280, realignment, a $7.48 million project to straighten the road just over a distance of two miles from Ky. 379, or Hale's Highway, to U.S. 127.
French Valley Rd. passes by the county's newest industrial park, the French Valley Industrial Park.An appropriation was announced at the Russell County School Board's April meeting that was used align the main entrance to the middle and high schools with French Valley Rd., as it will be slightly further south along U.S. 127 and will allow the schools outgoing and incoming traffic to take advantage of the newly-installed traffic lights.
School Superintendent Scott Pierce said this process began nearly four years ago when the state approached the Board of Education about moving the school's entrance farther south.
“The light will enable students leaving school to get across 127 safe and in an orderly fashion and it will give time for students to merge with traffic and not rush out into the roadway,” he said.
Pierce said it would be “vitally important” to students who walk to school along U.S. 127 as well as students can use a push-button walk signal to get across the roadway.
“We've been participating in a safe school route program to build sidewalks and do some other things and this venture was part of that,” he said. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet issued some grant money to the board for projects like this.
Pierce said school resource officers would still be present at the lights when school is dismissing to bring “added safety” to the area.
The French Valley Road project began more than three years ago when former Gov. Ernie Fletcher and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet authorized the release of funds for the highway improvement project.
As time went on and the project progressed, more state monies became available for the French Valley project.
There are four phases of funding road construction projects in Kentucky: design, utility relocation, right of way acquisition and construction. Each of the first three phases had to be completed before actual construction work began on the project, according to the Department of Highways.
As work continues each day on the straightening of the road, a set completion date is not available for project just yet. Earth-moving began last year on the project.