With the exception of the Ohio River Bridges Project, the Dixie Highway do-over project represents the biggest concentrated investment in transportation infrastructure in Louisville in recent memory.
“Over the next several years, we will create a new Dixie Highway that’s safer for everyone, more efficient for motorists, more reliable for transit users and more enticing for business owners, consumers and investors,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said in a news release.
The project will complement the revival that the Dixie Highway corridor has started to see, Fischer added, with multiple chain restaurants and shops opening along the road. Kroger recently invested $23 million in a marketplace store on Dixie Highway.
It also is the first major initiative in the city’s Move Louisville plan to start, although plans for a reimagining of Dixie Highway were well underway before Move Louisville was unveiled.
The project includes installing new signs and a timed stoplight system, reconfiguring the Interstate 264 westbound ramp onto Dixie Highway, modifying turning lanes, creating defined crosswalks, adding 36 covered bus stops, introducing eight new modern buses, constructing landscaped medians and ADA-compliant sidewalks. Other upgrades include fiber optic lines for traffic monitoring and a new technology that will allow the buses to communicate with traffic signals and give buses preference in light changes.
“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,” Congressman John Yarmuth said in the release. “That’s important for working families, employers and our regional economy.”
The major thoroughfare is heavily trafficked and can be quite dangerous. Pedestrians sometimes running across six lanes of traffic, and cars sit on medians waiting for a brief opening in traffic to make a left turn.
“Hopefully, we’ll move from the reputation of Dixie die-way to Dixie boulevard,” Louisville Metro Councilman Rick Blackwell, D-12, said at an information session about the project last year.
Financing for the project is a mixture of local, state and federal funding. A big chunk of the money — $16.9 million — is coming from a federal TIGER Grant that the city applied for. Another $14.5 million will pay for pavement replacement and resurfacing along a five-mile segment from Stonegate Manor Drive to Greenwood Road; work on that has already begun and is expected to be completed by the end of next year.
The city will host two open houses, each from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., to provide more details about the Dixie Highway project. The meetings are Wednesday, Sept. 14, at Southwest Regional Library and Thursday, Sept. 15, at Wheatley Elementary School. Citizens also can find more information and comment on the plan at TheNewDixieHighway.com.