Proposed Dixie Highway upgrades from city's TIGER grant application
Proposed Dixie Highway upgrades from city’s TIGER grant application

Local elected officials announced today that a $16.9 million federal grant will go toward a project to transform Dixie Highway from Broadway to the Gene Snyder Freeway in an effort to improve safety on the notoriously dangerous stretch of road.

“This federal investment will not only respond to congestion and safety concerns, it will revitalize the Dixie Highway corridor by making it a national model of regional commercial and multi-modal integration,” said Congressman John Yarmuth in a joint press release with Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “At a time when federal dollars for infrastructure have been severely cut, for this project to receive full funding shows just how important these improvements are to our city, this region and our nation.”

The Transforming Dixie Highway project will be funded through a federal TIGER grant, which Congress established in 2009 to generate economic development and improve access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation for “disconnected communities.” The project is intended to create intelligent traffic signalization to reduce commuter delays and improve safety with news crosswalks and sidewalks, enhanced bus stops, and lanes designed for buses only.

“The name Dixie Highway is synonymous with traffic congestion, pedestrian deaths and vehicle accidents,” said Mayor Fischer. “This project will transform Dixie Highway and make it safer for drivers and pedestrians. It will also make the commercial stretch more attractive and improve public transit along one of our city’s most important thoroughfares.”

Councilman Rick Blackwell, D-12, whose district comprises much of Dixie Highway, applauded the federal funds being freed up for the long-awaited project.

“I have worked tirelessly over the past several years to further the #DixieDoOver because I believe it will be transformative for the Dixie Corridor and Southwest Louisville,” said Blackwell. “So many levels of government and civic organizations have supported this project and worked to build its momentum and I am thrilled to hear that the DH Project has been awarded this additional funding.”

While it was not specifically mentioned in the press release, Blackwell hopes part of the funds will go toward a solar panel installation near the I-64 interchange, which would power new street lights and hopefully increase safety on the deadliest stretch of road for pedestrians in the city.

“I will certainly be pushing for the funding to go towards sustainable lighting and the solar panels,” Blackwell told Insider Louisville after the announcement. “That fits in with the ‘complete streets’ element of the grant application and award. Lighting is essential to improved safety for pedestrians and motorists.”

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Joe Sonka
Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]