While a major portion of the U.S. 60 Extension Project east of Owensboro opened a year ago, work continues on final connections along the 6-mile long $72.2 million project. Just as final work is winding down on the project, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is adding some additional work at the U.S. 60 Interchange with KY 603/Pleasant Valley Road near Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. According to KYTC District 2 Chief Engineer Kevin McClearn, peak traffic flow numbers for the eastbound exit ramp to Pleasant Valley Road and an intersection for Pleasant Valley Road and the KY 603 Pleasant Valley Road Connector have been higher than original estimates. “We’ve been studying the interchange, and in extensive conversations with Owensboro Health management staff, about peak traffic flow, particularly shift change traffic to and from the facility,” McClearn said. “We’ve identified a few issues that can be corrected with additional traffic signals and additional turn lanes to increase capacity.” McClearn noted that the hospital and U.S. 60 Extension Project were on parallel construction tracks. Designers working on the U.S. 60 extension had to develop traffic projections and turn movement volume estimates for the hospital before it opened. In recent months it has become apparent traffic to and from the hospital is exceeding those original estimates. After studying traffic and measuring actual traffic flow numbers, in recent months we’ve developed a design modification and gained approval for widening the Pleasant Valley Road eastbound exit ramp to allow two left turn lanes and two right turn lanes. Construction is expected to start within the week,” McClearn said. The exit currently only has one left turn lane and one right turn lane for U.S. 60 eastbound traffic. Adding turn lanes and a traffic signal is expected to alleviate traffic issues for left turn movements heading toward the hospital, and the eastbound right turn lane is in anticipation of a new development along KY 603/Pleasant Valley Road to the south of the interchange. The work includes addition of right turn and left turn lanes with a new signal at the intersection of KY 603/The Pleasant Valley Road Connector and Pleasant Valley Road on the other side of the interchange. Owensboro Health CEO and President Philip Patterson indicated his appreciation for the plan to add traffic capacity. “Owensboro Health Regional Hospital has become a destination point for patients and visitors traveling throughout Kentucky and Indiana. We appreciate the Transportation Cabinet’s work to increase traffic capacity, as the hospital – and this entire area – continues to grow and expand to meet the needs of our region,” Patterson said. Yager Materials, the prime contractor on the extension project, is expected to start on construction of the additional lanes on Friday, Oct. 2. Traffic barrels and a shoulder restriction along the eastbound exit ramp are expected to go up as early as today to facilitate the start of work. McClearn expects the additional work to have a target completion date of about Christmas. The $72.7 million U.S. 60 Extension Project runs 6 miles from the KY 54 interchange to the Hawes Boulevard intersection at Hawesway Truck Stop east of Owensboro. It included construction of eight bridges.