The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), citing forecasts for heavy holiday week traffic, suggests motorists traveling Interstate 24 for Thanksgiving take an alternate route around an extended work zone in portions of Caldwell and Trigg counties.
“Traffic in this work zone has been running really well in recent months,” said Kyle Poat, chief district engineer of KYTC District 1, based in Paducah. “However, earlier in the year, we had several truck crashes that blocked traffic for extended periods. We’ve also had significant backups from time to time. By taking an alternate route, travelers driving between Paducah and the Nashville/Clarksville, Tennessee, area can be of help to themselves and others by using this suggested alternate.”
The work zone, established as part of an extensive pavement replacement project, stretches 10 miles along I-24, between mile markers 55 and 65. The work zone has restricted lanes with two-way traffic running on the eastbound lanes, separated by a centerline barrier wall.
AAA estimates 53.4 million Americans will be traveling for Thanksgiving, up 13% from 2020, so Poat and other KYTC personnel recognized the potential for traffic delays and backups.
Poat said engineers are hoping to get westbound traffic moved to new pavement along the westbound lanes in time for the Christmas holiday. However, the work zone restrictions will remain in place through Thanksgiving.
Details of the suggested alternatives:
Eastbound motorists heading toward Nashville should consider a self-detour between the I-24/I-69 Exit 25 Interchange near Calvert City to the U.S. 68 Cadiz Exit 65 Interchange via I-69 South to Draffenville Exit 47, then taking U.S. 68 East.
Westbound motorists can avoid the work zone by taking Cadiz Exit 65 to follow U.S. 68 West to reach I-69 northbound at the I-69 Draffenville Exit 47 interchange, then follow I-69 North to return to I-24 westbound at Exit 25 near Calvert City.
Westbound motorists may take the Pennyrile Parkway northbound to I-69 southbound to return to I-24 at Exit 42 near Eddyville.
The suggested alternate route along U.S. 68 includes about 15 miles of 2-lane in Marshall County. Westbound travelers taking the self-detour will need to make a right turn to remain on U.S. 68 immediately after crossing the Eggners Ferry Bridge over Kentucky Lake at Aurora. The alternate route through Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area adds about 10 minutes of driving time, but avoids the potential for backups on I-24. Counting the 55 mph work zone speed limit, the difference in driving time is minimal.
The alternate route westbound via the Pennyrile Parkway and I-69 is longer, but avoids the potential backup for westbound traffic at Exit 65.
Travelers may use WAZE and similar map/traffic APPS to monitor the roadway ahead for potential delays.
“Motorists should be aware that Interstate 24 through Kentucky gets a substantial eastbound surge every Friday afternoon,” Poat added. “Other than that, we anticipate backups are most likely the afternoon of Thanksgiving Eve and again Sunday afternoon, as the holiday week winds down.”
To aid with holiday traffic flow, all other work zone traffic restrictions along I-24 in Kentucky have been removed. Holiday travelers should be aware of work zone restrictions along I-24 in Illinois that start on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River at Paducah for westbound travelers. Traffic backups are also possible there.