Mayor Greg Fischer helped break ground today to begin construction of the long-planned realignment of the intersection of Eighteenth Street, Dixie Highway and Broadway.
The $1.1 million project will ease traffic conditions at an intersection that is the hub of a major revitalization of the area. The Republic Bank Foundation YMCA and the new corporate headquarters of Passport Health Plan—projects totaling nearly $160 million and bringing over 500 jobs to the area—are both under construction at the intersection.
Dixie Highway becomes Eighteenth Street as it moves northbound across Broadway. Navigating that intersection from any direction presently requires moving through two traffic signals less than one hundred feet apart because the street zigzags at Broadway.
This project will reroute Dixie slightly eastward along the YMCA to align it directly with 18th Street, eliminating the zigzag and one of the traffic signals in each direction. Completion by contractor TSI Construction is expected by the end of October.
Mayor Fischer said, “This realignment will improve the connections between north, south, east and west as it helps to make this critical intersection a foundation for even more investment in West Louisville.”
Joining the mayor in the groundbreaking were Steve Tarver, President and CEO of YMCA of Greater Louisville; Jill Bell, Vice President and Chief Marketing & Communications Officer of Passport Health Plan; Metro Council President and District 6 Councilman David James; and Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith of District 4, which includes the Broadway/Dixie/18th Street intersection.
The realigned intersection will be a Bus Rapid Transit stop at the northern anchor of the $50 million New Dixie Highway project. That project will improve safety, mobility and livability along a 14-mile corridor to the Gene Snyder Freeway. Mayor Fischer noted that the realignment is part of a long string of development announcements across Louisville, and particularly west of Ninth Street.
In addition to the YMCA and Passport projects, the list includes a $29.5 million grant to convert the Beecher Terrace public housing development into a mixed used, mixed income community, the planned $30 million Heritage West track and field facility at 30th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard, development of Google Fiber, the Chef Space kitchen incubator in the former Jay’s Cafeteria, and more.
A major project to improve safety along one of the city’s most traveled highways began a new phase today, as Mayor Greg Fischer and U.S. Dept. of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced the construction kickoff of the New Dixie Highway Project.
Upon completion in December 2019, the improved corridor will include safety improvements such as new medians, wider sidewalks and clearly marked crosswalks; efficiency improvements including responsive traffic signals linked by fiber optic cable; and the city’s first bus rapid transit system which will vastly improve bus travel times to and from downtown.
“The U.S. Department of Transportation’s $16.9 million TIGER grant is providing nearly half of the funding for the New Dixie Highway Project to greatly improve the Louisville area transportation network,” said Secretary Chao. “As a resident of Louisville, I have spent a lot of time driving Dixie Highway and am delighted to be part of this effort to improve the safety and efficiency of the city’s busiest traffic corridor.
The $35 million project will create a New Dixie Highway that’s safer for drivers and pedestrians, and will fuel transformation of a major economic corridor for southwest and west Louisville. The New Dixie Highway Project is the first major construction project under the Mayor’s MOVE Louisville initiative.
“We’re investing more money into improving Dixie Highway right now than any other corridor in the city,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “This road is a crucial connector for people to get to schools, to work, to health care, and most importantly, to get back home. This project will not only make Dixie safer for drivers, but it will make it more attractive for business owners, consumers and investors.”
Dixie Highway carries nearly 60,000 vehicles per day near its busiest intersections, which is a higher traffic count than some interstate stretches. Dixie Highway also suffers a fatality rate three times higher than comparable Kentucky roadways.
The project includes funding from federal, state and local sources, including a $16.9 million federal TIGER grant, $5.28 federal funds through KIPDA, $12 million in state funds, and $600,000 from Louisville Metro.
“It takes collaboration and support between city, state and federal partners to move a project of this size forward,” said KYTC Secretary Greg Thomas. “The upcoming construction, coupled with roadway improvements in recent years, will completely transform Dixie Highway into a safer, better-connected corridor.”
Mayor Fischer, Sec. Chao, KYTC Sec. Thomas, Congressman John Yarmuth, Metro Council members and other leaders celebrated the New Dixie Highway construction kickoff at the Kroger Marketplace, a $23 million grocery and retail superstore, at 4915 Dixie Highway. The location is appropriate, Mayor Fischer said, because the project builds on the renaissance already under way on the corridor, with tens of millions of dollars in private investments in new restaurants, retail businesses, housing and other developments.
Safety improvements lead the way
This month, MAC Construction began preparations for construction, including temporary lane shifts and utility location. Safety improvements will include new concrete medians designed to limit left turns between Crums Lane and Greenwood Road. Dedicated turn lanes will reduce the risk for head-on collisions. Pedestrians will enjoy new, more accommodating sidewalks that are eight feet wide in many areas, and better markings for crosswalks.
The city’s busiest transit corridor will also get the region’s first “bus rapid transit” line, including distinctive TARC buses and high-visibility shelters to help move thousands of people daily and better define the 14-mile corridor. More than 100 trees will be planted along the route, as well as native grasses and plants within the new landscaped medians.
Mayor Fischer thanked state legislators, Metro Council members and the KYTC for their commitment to improving safety and mobility along Dixie Highway, noting that without their work to secure state and local matching funds, the city would not have been able to leverage the federal grant to jump-start the project.
Bus rapid transit will help move people to work, home
Fueled by a $16.9 million federal TIGER grant, the New Dixie Highway project will include a new bus rapid transit line along Dixie Highway from around the Gene Snyder Freeway to Broadway, and connect to the downtown business district. It will include specially designed vehicles and bus stations that will reduce travel times for riders and increase reliability along Louisville’s most used public-transit corridor.
“This strategic investment in a proven transportation solution will help transit users get to work, to stores and back home faster and more reliably than today,” Yarmuth said. “That’s important for working families, employers and our regional economy.”
With more than 30 distinctively branded bus shelters, new buses and sidewalk improvements, the New Dixie Highway project will also help transform the look and feel of the corridor.
Multiple improvements on Dixie are already underway or completed
Overall, more than $50 million has been invested in Dixie Highway in a series of projects over the past two years. The total investment of federal, state and local dollars includes:
Open house meetings planned for early 2018
Citizens will get a chance to learn more about the planned improvements at an open house meeting in early 2018. Citizens can also get more information through the project website (www.TheNewDixieHighway.com) and social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter.
A long-awaited project to make a Watterson Expressway exit safer is underway, making travel into Shively and Dixie Highway more efficient and less hair-raising for drivers and pedestrians.
The construction is the first phase of an accelerated plan to improve safety and traffic efficiency throughout the Dixie Highway corridor – a comprehensive set of projects that will invest more than $50 million along the highway over the next two years in the city’s busiest highway.
Mayor Greg Fischer joined Congressman John Yarmuth and representatives from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Metro Council to announce the beginning of the ramp realignment, and to preview the additional projects that will make the entire highway safer and easier to travel for both drivers and pedestrians.
“Traffic-choking designs like the current exit ramp make it difficult to get to our thriving businesses in south and west Louisville. This realignment will be a relief for every driver who travels in this area,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “This project is the jump-start for a series of improvements that will transform Dixie Highway and our neighborhoods in the south and west.”
About the realignment project
The current exit from I-264 westbound onto northbound Dixie Highway is short, and funnels directly into Dixie Highway without a designated merge lane or stoplight. Traffic often backs up along the ramp as drivers wait to safely move onto Dixie.
The project will realign the I-264 westbound ramp to Dixie Highway (US31) north into a T-intersection, including a traffic signal to safely move vehicles off the exit. The southbound lanes of Dixie are unaffected by this project. A new sidewalk under the Watterson Expressway will be added later.
“This exit ramp is a white-knuckle journey for drivers, and it’s tricky for northbound Dixie vehicles to navigate as well,” said Matt Bullock, chief district engineer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. “By improving this ramp, we’ll make arriving on Dixie Highway a safer, more welcoming experience for drivers and pedestrians.”
The realignment project will require the exit ramp to be closed for a total of nine consecutive days (including two weekends to limit traffic impacts). The contractor, Milestone, has not yet identified those closure dates. The $724,000 project is scheduled to be completed by November.
“The City of Shively is excited for the project to begin, and we are looking forward to the changes it will create for us and all of Dixie Highway,” said Shively mayor Sherry Conner. “We are thankful for all the support we have received from all parties – whether it was financial or moral, we appreciate it.”
More Dixie improvements to come
The ramp realignment is the first phase of a two-year construction plan for significant improvements throughout the corridor, called the New Dixie Highway Project. Those improvements will fuel transformation of a major economic corridor for southwest and west Louisville.
The New Dixie Highway Project is the first major construction project from Mayor Fischer’s “Move Louisville” initiative.
Fueled by a nearly $17 million federal TIGER grant, the New Dixie Highway Project will include new fiber-linked traffic signals, new concrete and landscaped medians, and a first-in-the-city bus rapid transit line from TARC to run between downtown and the Gene Snyder Freeway.
“The New Dixie Highway project is the largest concentrated investment in Louisville’s transportation network since we began the Ohio River Bridges Project,” Fischer said. “When complete, the new Dixie Highway will be safer for everyone, more efficient for motorists, more reliable for transit users and more enticing for business owners, consumers and investors.”
“This is another important step forward in making Dixie Highway safer and improving the commute for drivers and pedestrians alike,” said Congressman Yarmuth. “Transportation goes hand and hand with economic growth, so I’ll continue to work with federal, state, and local leaders to make sure we pursue every opportunity available to fund these critical projects.”
The project is currently up for bid through the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, and construction may begin as early as this fall, with completion expected in December 2019.
President David Yates is encouraging residents to come out to the next “Talk with David” on Monday, July 24th, at the Southwest Regional Library beginning at 6:00pm.
President Yates has invited representatives from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), District 5 to come and give an update on the Dixie Highway Paving Project. KYTC has not yet confirmed that they will be attending but President Yates wants to provide an opportunity for the state to listen to his constituent’s safety concerns and learn about the impact this construction has had on local businesses.
“My Southwest Council colleagues and I are very well aware of the continuing delays and frustration this state paving project has been experiencing,” says Yates. “It is important that people not confuse this project with the federal $16.9 million TIGER Grant for the Dixie Do Over. It is also important that state officials provide some answers and hear from our community.”
The project began in late 2015 and was to focus on repaving between Bethany Lane to Greenwood Road. It has been inundated with delays.
Representatives from LMPD, MSD, Code Enforcement and United States Congressman John Yarmuth’s office will be on hand to help answer any questions and concerns.
“Please come out and join us. This is also a chance to talk with me about any concerns you might have about any issue.” says Yates.
For more information about the next “Talk with David”, contact President Yates’ office at 574-1125.
This Tuesday, October 18th at 6:30 PM, there will be a town hall forum that will have candidates Harold Bratcher and Michael Payne available to take questions from community members.
Bratcher is running for the US House of Representatives for Kentucky’s 3rd district. The House of Representatives is one of half of the legislative branch at the federal level. Each state has a different number of representatives that correlate to the population of that state. Each term in the House is 2 years. Bratcher is running for Kentucky’s third district, which represents all of Jefferson County. Bratcher is opposing incumbent John Yarmuth, who has held the office since 2007 and is currently seeking re-election for his sixth term. More information about Harold Bratcher can be found on his website.
Michael Payne is running for State Representative, District 28. As seen with Congress at the federal level, each state has their own two-part legislature. District 28 represents a portion of the southwestern portion of the county, from parts of Pleasure Ridge Park south along Dixie Highway to West Point, including Valley Station, Valley Village, and Prairie Village. Each term for the State representatives is 2 years. Payne is opposing incumbent Charles Miller, who has held the office since 1999 and is currently seeking re-election for his tenth term. More information about Michael Payne can be found on his website.
The forum is a town hall style, meaning community members who attend will be able to ask questions directly to the candidates. The meeting is at La Carretta at 10105 Dixie Highway (due to construction, people traveling south on Dixie Highway will find it easier to access the shopping center parking lot by turning left at Valley Station Road, and turning left into the shopping center). The meeting starts at 6:30 PM.
Metro Council President David Tandy (D-4) joined other Metro Council members, Congressman John Yarmuth, Governor Steve Beshear, Mayor Greg Fischer and members of Jefferson County’s Legislative Delegation on Monday to praise the announcement that Metro Louisville will receive a $16.9 million TIGER Grant for the Dixie Highway Master Plan.
“Dixie Highway is just as vital to Metro Louisville as any interstate when it comes to moving people to and from destinations and helping our economy and local businesses,” said Tandy. “We on the Metro Council continue support and advocate for improvements and the modernization of this vital highway.”
The TIGER Grant, along with $11 million in state funding, will improve Dixie Highway by constructing multipurpose lanes for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. There will also be state of the art traffic synchronization for better traffic flow. The funding will also provide TARC with more buses and develop modern rapid transit lanes.
The President said this grant is another enhancement of transportation for Metro Louisville’s urban core.
“It is easy to forget that Dixie Highway begins at 18th Street and Broadway. This grant will help correct traffic flow problems in our downtown and then move out to Algonquin Parkway, Shivery and the Watterson Expressway and then on to the Gene Snyder,” said Tandy.
The grant will also develop landscaping and center medians along the Dixie Highway corridor as a way of improving traffic flow in and out of business locations
“Improving Dixie Highway is just as significant to our infrastructure as the current Ohio River Bridges Project. Both projects will be another plus in Metro Louisville’s favor when it comes to business and travel and our economy.”
The announcement of a $16.9 million federal TIGER Grant to Metro Louisville for the revamping and revitalization of Dixie Highway is drawing praise from Councilwoman Mary C. Woolridge (D-3).
The TIGER Grant along with $11 million from the Commonwealth of Kentucky will allow for the vital funding needed to implement the Dixie Highway Master Plan.
“Those of us who use Dixie Highway every day, welcome this news because it is long overdue,” says Woolridge. “The time has come to address the needs of motorists, pedestrians and the economic drivers of our area.”
The primary goals of the Transforming Dixie Highway Project are to enhance safety and aesthetics throughout the corridor. Safety improvements will include the addition of new multi-use traffic lanes, enhanced pedestrian crossings, median treatments, and state of the art traffic signalization designed to minimize commuter delays. Aesthetic improvements include the addition of landscaping, signage, and streetscape elements to enhance existing business entrances.
“Anyone who lives or works in District 3 and has had to navigate the traffic congestion at Crum Lane or the on off ramps of the Watterson Expressway know how important these traffic flow improvements are,” says Woolridge.
The TIGER Grant also focuses attention on putting new buses on the road with enhanced stops to accommodate TARC and the development of rapid transit, with lanes designated for buses only.
“While some have managed to recover from the economic downturn of 2008 and 2009, the working poor still must rely on affordable public transit to get to work,” says Woolridge. “And if we are truly concerned about sustainability, we must focus more attention on a rapid transit system that encourages us to leave our cars at home and hop on the bus.”