Busy St. Matthews intersection changed

| June 8, 2011
Westport Road headed west on Chenoweth Lane is now right-turn only.

Westport Road headed west on Chenoweth Lane is now right-turn only.

The busy five-way intersection at Chenoweth Lane and Shelbyville Road in St. Matthews has undergone a notable change.

Barriers have been installed to prevent drivers headed west on Westport Road from crossing Chenoweth Lane to proceed on to  Frankfort Avenue. The lane is now right-turn only.

Those who wish to access Shelbyville Road are being directed to turn south on St. Matthews Avenue before reaching the intersection.

Andrea Clifford, public information officer for the Kentucky Department of Highways, said the change was made as part of a 2005 federal requirement to improve safety at the railroad crossing on Chenoweth.

Westport Road headed west on Chenoweth Lane is now right-turn only.“It’s a very unique intersection, but (the change) is to improve safety – that’s the first goal of the improvements,” she said.

The light at Westport and Chenoweth has been eliminated and having one fewer streetlight phase allows traffic to keep from being stopped on the railroad tracks when a train is approaching. A second set of crossing gates is to be added soon.

The joint project involved the Highway Department, the Federal Railroad Administration, CSX Transportation, Louisville Metro Public Works and the city of St. Matthews.

Pete Hammer, owner of St. Matthews Hardware, which abuts Westport near the intersection, doesn’t like the change.

“Every single person that has come in here has had nothing but negative or ugly things to say about it. Nobody’s happy,” he said. “I had one customer come in and tell me that he was third in line to turn and waited 20 minutes.”

St. Matthews City Councilwoman Mary Jo Nay said she hasn’t heard complaints about the intersection.

Westport Road headed west on Chenoweth Lane is now right-turn only.“I’m sure as people learn the new pattern, they’ll easily be able to maneuver through there,” she said.

The right turning lane of St. Matthews Avenue was widened in anticipation of increased traffic on that street, said Jim Birch, St. Matthews city engineer.

Birch said his office has gotten calls from people unhappy with the change at the intersection, but he added that drivers might find alternative routes after getting used to the change.

Tammy Gross, vice president of Gross Diamond Co., which is located at 3901 Shelbyville Road adjacent to Wesport Road, said she has noticed people cutting through the parking lot of her business to access Shelbyville Road.

“I think it’ll become a higher wreck area because people are not obeying the right-turn only rule and simply cutting through,” she said.

Contact writer Jacob Glassner at jacob@voice-tribune.com.

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Jacob Glassner

Jacob Glassner, News Editor/Plate Spinner

Jacob usually has his eyes glued to a computer screen, editing stories and making sure the paper gets out the door each week. Multi-tasking is his modus operandi – similar to the plate spinners you’d see on the old “Ed Sullivan Show.” Turn ons: freshly-sharpened pencils. Turn offs: exclamation points!!!

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