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New Circle Road


New Circle Road

Kentucky Route 4 marker

Kentucky Route 4
New Circle Road
Route information
Maintained by KYTC
Length: 19.283 mi[1] (31.033 km)
Major junctions
Beltway around Lexington
  US 27 in Lexington
US 68 in Lexington
US 60 in Lexington
US 421 in Lexington
US 25 in Lexington
Counties: Fayette
Highway system
KY 3 KY 5

New Circle Road, also known as Kentucky Route 4, is a Kentucky state highway that serves as an inner beltway around Lexington, which is part of the consolidated city-county government with Fayette County.

The state designates the start and finish of the road at its interchange with Nicholasville Road on the city's south side. Exit numbering increases as one travels clockwise.

Roughly three-fourths of the highway is limited-access, with all movements controlled at 10 interchanges. The remainder is classified as an urban principal arterial highway with a heavy mix of driveway entrances and intersections with one single-point urban interchange at US 60 (Winchester Road) and a diverging diamond interchange at US 68 (Harrodsburg Road). The dividing line between the limited-access segment and the urban arterial highway is US 25 (Richmond and Georgetown Roads) north and east of the city.


  • History 1
    • Winchester Road/US 60 Interchange Reconstruction 1.1
    • Reconstructing New Circle Road 1.2
    • Recent construction projects 1.3
  • Exit list 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


New Circle Road, Lexington, was constructed in several segments from 1950 to 1967[2] as a circumferential bypass. The first segment to be built, from KY 922 (Newtown Pike) to US 25 (Richmond Road)/US 421, was constructed by the city of Lexington in 1952 as two-lane connector road.[3] The original section included at-grade intersections at Palumbo Drive, KY 1927 (Liberty Road), KY 57 (Bryan Avenue), Old Paris Pike, US 27/US 68, and at KY 353 (Russell Cave Road), with one interchange at US 60 (Winchester Road). This segment of the road is also known as the Northern Belt Line or the US 25 Bypass.[4]

To help finance the construction of the original 1952 portion, driveway access was sold to property owners along the route.[5] At the time of construction, this area was mostly rural and surrounded by horse farms, as Lexington had not yet begun to sprawl out that far.

After the opening, this section experienced rapid growth and the need to widen it to four lanes from two became evident. In 1958, maintenance was taken over by the state and construction began on the widening to four lanes as it became US 25 Bypass.[3] In 1966, a study began on more improvements to the original stretch of New Circle Road due to "extremely congested conditions." One of the improvements suggested as another bypass east of New Circle but was ruled out as being "too expensive and disruptive." As an interim solution, frontage roads were constructed along a few portions of New Circle, and longer turning lanes were constructed.

The remainder of the highway around Lexington was constructed to near-urban freeway standards with controlled access. Construction of interchanges at KY 922 (Newtown Pike). The interchange with Alumni Drive was constructed in late 1984 at a cost of $2 million with the extension of what was then Mount Tabor Road southeastward towards Man o' War Boulevard.[6]

Winchester Road/US 60 Interchange Reconstruction

The interchange with US 60 (Winchester Road), built in 1961, was sorely out-of-date by the 1980s. Tight 15 mph (24 km/h) ramps and a narrow underpass with no acceleration or deceleration lanes made this a dangerous pseudo-cloverleaf interchange. Trucks, too tall for the substandard overpass height clearance, would frequently damage the bridge girders. Work started in the late 1990s to convert this outdated exit into a single-point urban interchange (SPUI). There are two left turn lanes on each ramp, and those are controlled by a single traffic light instead of two. Longer ramps for merging onto New Circle Road were added. In the fall of 2000, the new Winchester Road interchange opened to traffic at a cost of $8.1 million.[7]

Reconstructing New Circle Road

An early study, part of the "Urban County Government's Year 2000 Transportation Plan", stated that New Circle should be widened to six-lanes by the year 2000.[3] There was no available funding for the project that would cost $31 million.

In 1987, the US 25 to Richmond Road/US 25/US 421. New Circle Road in the northeastern quadrant of Lexington has high traffic volumes, numerous accidents and traffic delays as motorists face numerous commercial access points, congested intersections, poor traffic signal progressions, and a very low level of service made worse during peak hours. None of these recommendations by the urban government were implemented however.[8]

By 1997, a section of New Circle from Tates Creek Road to Nicholasville Road was averaging more than 60,000 vehicles per day, up from 17,000 30 years ago and an increase of 256%.[2] The section from Alumni Drive to Tates Creek Road saw an 155% increase, and the stretch from Harrodsburg Road to Versailles Road saw a 512% increase. A study was initiated at a cost of $2.6 million on widening a 13-mile (21 km) stretch from Georgetown Road to Richmond Road around the western and southern reaches of the city. The traffic volume is so large that "officials could justify widening the road to as many as five lanes in each direction."

In 1999, a study of the 14-mile (23 km) fully controlled access portion of New Circle Road was completed for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The study focused on an eight and ten-lane alternative. The eight-lane alternative was recommended at a cost of $218 million but no funds have been allocated for that portion of New Circle Road as of this date. That study did not include recommendations for New Circle Road between Georgetown Road/US 25 to Richmond Road/US 25/US 421 other than proposed improvements for the interchanges at Georgetown Road/US 25 and Richmond Road/US 25/US 421.

In August 1999, the

  • State Primary Road System in Fayette County PDF (1.33 MB)
  • KY 4 at
  • New Circle Road Widening Project

External links

  1. ^ a b Division of Planning. "Official Milepoint Route Log Extract". Highway Information System. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Hall, Elizabeth Wade (February 25, 1997). "To Widen or Not: Some with Homes Nearby Worried". Herald-Leader (Lexington, KY). 
  3. ^ a b c Gaines, John (November 12, 1984). "A New Wave of Development Sweeps over New Circle Road". Herald-Leader (Lexington, KY). 
  4. ^ Cross Reference Directory, Greater Lexington. City Publishing. May 1981. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Davis, Merlene (January 27, 1985). "Several Projects Helping To Ease Area's Traffic Woes". Herald-Leader (Lexington, KY). 
  7. ^ "Interchange Done Ahead of Schedule". Herald-Leader (Lexington, KY). June 19, 2000. p. B1. 
  8. ^ "New Circle Road". Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. 2002. 
  9. ^ a b Conversion of New Circle Road to a limited Access Facility (Report). Kentucky Transportation Center,  
  10. ^ "New Circle To Be Widened From Georgetown to Versailles Roads".  


See also

mi[1] km Exit Destinations Notes
2.224 3.579 2 US 68 (Harrodsburg Road) – Harrodsburg, Lexington Diverging diamond interchange
4.611 7.421 5 US 60 (Versailles Road) to Bluegrass Parkway – Versailles, Lexington Signed as exits 5A (east) and 5B (west)
6.336 10.197 6 KY 1681 (Old Frankfort Pike)
7.239 11.650 7 US 421 (Leestown Road) – Frankfort, Lexington
8.731 14.051 8 Lexington clockwise end of freeway
9.324 15.006 9 KY 922 (Newtown Pike) to I-64 / I-75 – Lexington Signed as exits 9A (south) and 9B (north)
Lexmark interchange
10.356 16.666 KY 353 north (Russell Cave Road) At-grade intersection
10.665 17.164 US 27 / US 68 (North Broadway) – Paris, Cynthiana At-grade intersection
11.339 18.248 KY 57 north (Bryan Station Road) / Bryan Avenue At-grade intersection
12.704 20.445 13 US 60 to I-75 / I-64 – Winchester, Lexington Single-point urban interchange
13.669 21.998 KY 1927 east (Liberty Road) At-grade intersection
14.843 23.887 15 US 25 / US 421 – Richmond, Lexington counterclockwise end of freeway
16.123 25.947 16 Alumni Drive
17.748 28.563 18 KY 1974 (Tates Creek Road) – Lexington
19.283 31.033 19 US 27 (Nicholasville Road) – Nicholasville, Lexington
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

The entire route is in Lexington, Fayette County.

Exit list

In November 2012, the Kentucky Department of Transportation announced the widening of New Circle Road from four to six lanes from just west of Georgetown Road to Versailles Road. Construction should begin in the fall of 2013 and is expected to be completed by 2016 at a cost of $80 million.[10]

In the fall of 2011, a diverging diamond interchange was added to the Harrodsburg Road exit to help alleviate traffic jams.

The first of many projects to improve the commercialized section of New Circle Road began in the summer of 2007. It included access management improvements, median construction, shoulder repair, turn lane extensions, and resurfacing from the intersection with Newtown Pike to the intersection with Industry Road. The $3.8 million project was completed in the fall of 2007.

A cable barrier system was installed along the median of the unsignalized portion of New Circle Road between the Richmond Road and Old Frankfort Pike Interchanges, which is a distance of just over eight miles (13 km). The $2.4 million project was started in the spring of 2007 and completed in the summer of 2007.

Recent construction projects

Four alternatives for the segment from Newtown Pike/KY 922 to Richmond Road/US 25/US 421 were presented and a fifth was introduced later after combining several key ideas that the residents voiced their approval of at several public meetings:[9]


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