A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky American Public Works Association honors Lexington with three awards

The City of Lexington was honored by the Kentucky Chapter of the American Public Works Association for three of its public works projects.


The Blue Sky Wastewater Treatment Plant acquisition and closure project won in the sanitary sewer services category. The project by the city’s Division of Water Quality included Lexington’s acquisition of the bankrupt Blue Sky treatment plant and construction a new pumping station in place of the aging treatment plant.

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The new pump station now conveys sewage from the Blue Sky Rural Activity Center back to sewers within the Urban Service Boundary, providing additional capacity to the previously underserved area around the I-75 and Athens Boonesboro Road interchange. The new pump station system allows for the future elimination of a second, privately owned treatment plant located nearby.

Eliminating both treatment plants is expected to improve water quality in the Baughman’s Fork drainage area, portions of which have been identified as impaired by the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.

The project was undertaken in connection with the settlement of an enforcement action under the Clean Water Act, United States et al v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, brought on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


The city also won an award in the safety category for a high-friction asphalt project handled by the city’s Division of Streets and Roads. High friction asphalt is a specialty application that greatly reduces vehicle crashes caused by a loss of traction, usually in areas containing curves and/or grade changes.

Some examples would be interstate off ramps, 90-degree turns, and hilltops or valleys with a curve.

Five locations known for high car-crash counts were chosen for the project: Stone Road, Alexandria Drive, Henry Clay Boulevard, Fortune Drive, and Montavesta Drive.

“Some of these locations were averaging a crash a month before we switched to the high-friction asphalt,” says Rob Allen, Streets and Roads deputy director. “It’s only been a couple of months, but we only know of one crash occurring in the treated areas and it is believed to have been due to operator error and not road conditions. While it is still early to judge the treatment’s overall effectiveness, Streets and Roads is extremely pleased at the reduction in crashes and hopes this becomes the new norm for these types of locations.”


Lexington’s new Pavement Management System won an award in the technology category. The city’s Department of Environmental Quality & Public Works hired a pavement management consultant to identify pavement performance goals.

The consultant digitally inspected and documented pavement conditions, and identified pavement treatment options, cost estimates, and benefit-cost ratios. As a result, Lexington has been able to utilize public funds more efficiently by eliminating the “worst-first” approach to pavement management.

“With this data-driven approach to pavement management, we were able to develop a five-year paving plan that will allow us to coordinate paving maintenance with other infrastructure projects,” says Chester Hicks, administrative officer in the department. “We expect to see tremendous multi-modal benefits over time with this new approach.”

The awards were presented during the Kentucky Chapter of the American Public Works Association’s state conference, which was held in Lexington. The Kentucky Chapter has some 175 active members.

The APWA’s Awards Program was established to recognize outstanding individuals, groups and chapters representing the best in the public works profession.

From Department for Environmental Quality Communications

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