Proposals Aim To Ease Traffic In Newport

(NEWPORT, KY) -- The way you get to Newport on the Levee may soon be changing.

The Kentucky Department of Transportation unveiled three proposals Wednesday night to speed traffic on Interstate 471. Sara Gouedy reports.

People who attended that open forum left with a stack of materials. In it are three proposals that would drastically change this area.

Some people who live around here left the meeting happy while others say they're resistant to any change.

"We've been here since 1945, and now all the sudden, boom, this is gonna hit us," said Grady Jobe with the Bellevue Vets Club.

In all three traffic proposals, the Bellevue Vets Club loses a large chunk of it's parking lot.

That's because the state says no matter what, Route 8 needs widening so that road can handle the traffic that's only expected to get tighter in the next few decades.

"This is a long process, but the main thing is to improve safety on the 471 bridge," said Nancy Wood with the KDOT.

Jobe says taking the lot will hurt the club's ball field and volleyball courts, which need a lot of parking.

"Take as little as possible. We're not there to argue with them or anything, but we just want them to be happy and us to be happy," he said.

At Newport High School Wednesday night, some people felt very differently about the final three possibilities.

"What is so difficult is that when I turn into my street here, I sit and sit and sit and sit," said Claire Merman.

Merman lives in Newport Island, a neighborhood surrounded by traffic from 471 and Route 8.

She says the state's plans seem reasonable.

"I'll journey around the world if I have to get home. But I'm just glad that no one is losing their homes. That's what I'd like to see," she said.

The state says it's leaving a copy of the proposals at the Newport Public Library for the next week so people who didn't get a chance to attend tonight's open forum can see the plans, too.

The state says it will pick a plan by the end of the year, but the construction won't be finished until 2014.