Back in the day--pre-JR Miller Boulevard, which was finished in 1988--the main goal for Owensboro drivers was how best to avoid Frederica Street.

It wasn't easy, seeing as how it's arguably the city's main thoroughfare, but plenty of people I knew had it all worked out. That includes my mother.

She HATED Frederica Street and knew how to avoid it. Crossing it didn't count since you're really on the cross streets, not Frederica.

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Well, with the advent of JR Miller Boulevard came an easing of traffic issues in the city, when it came to driving from the north end to the south end and vice versa.

But then Highway 54 became an attractive target for businesses and IT grew up seemingly overnight. And I've written a number of stories about the potential trials and tribulations of navigating that very busy part of town. But not this time.

THIS time, it's all about how I AVOID being on Highway 54 even when I'm patronizing businesses out there.

One day, while stuck on the eastbound on-ramp, I decided I would never do this again. That double turn lane at the top of the ramp is great, but sometimes, drivers in the left lane who are turning right are hesitant to do so when the light is red and there's no oncoming traffic. I can understand that; I'm a bit hesitant when I make that turn, myself.

So here's what I do...

While in the eastbound lane of the bypass, I take the Pleasant Valley Road exit, take a right at the light then another right on Hayden Road. Just like that, I have much easier and much more stress-FREE access to Gateway Commons, Malco, and Aldi. If I need Walmart, Goodwill, or any of those restaurants nearby, I take a left on Calumet Trace then a right on Fairview and I'm there.

For access to the SOUTH side of 54, I come in the back way on Fairview Drive and I'm right there at Kohl's, tons of restaurants, Walgreens, Don Moore, you name it. Those service roads are super handy.

If there's a will, there's a way. And that one day when I said to myself, "I WILL find an easier route to Highway 54 commerce, then I found a WAY."

It may sound like I'm going out of my way, but it's not THAT far, and it is absolutely worth it.

Safe travels. I'll see you on 54. No...wait...I won't. I'll see you NEAR 54.

READ ON: The Ten Commandments of Highway 54

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