Johns Hill set for widening project

Driving on Johns Hill Road will soon be a little different.

Make that a lot different.

That’s because Northern Kentucky University, in conjunction with the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is planning on connecting the nearby street to Nunn Drive, the road that encircles campus.

Construction on Johns Hill Road was originally set to begin in early 2008, but was delayed to 2009 due to the project’s right-of-way negotiations. The main goal is to straighten and widen the road, which will result in Johns Hill Road being safer for drivers and becoming more of an urban area, according to Larry Blake, assistant vice president of Facilities Management.

“There will be some impact on traffic and there will be times when roads are closed, but we won’t see an enormous disruption. The end result will be better,” Blake said.

The construction is estimated to take about a year to complete. The state-funded job will expand from Nunn Drive to Johns Hill Road, near the intersection of Johns Hill and Martha Layne Collins Boulevard.

Currently, Johns Hill Road has only one lane in each direction and is not very straight, which can make it an inconvenient road for drivers.

The new road will consist of two lanes going in each direction, a bike lane, sidewalks and a landscaped median. There will also be roundabouts at every intersection.

Buildings that house organizations such as the Catholic Newman Center, as well as some local residents, will be bought out so the construction may begin.

The Catholic Newman Center will move to the first floor of the University Center, where the old bookstore was, along with other NKU religious organizations. That project, named the Interfaith Center, is estimated to be completed in early 2008.

“Nobody likes giving up something that they have had for so long,” said Kristi Hils, an active member of the Catholic Newman Club. “It gives us a good opportunity to interact with the other religious organizations here on campus,” she said.

The Trans Cabinet approved the Johns Hill Road project in early 2007. The project will begin in early 2009.