A huge swath of Dixie Highway, from Broadway to the Gene Snyder Freeway, soon will be transformed into a modern, safer, more pedestrian-friendly corridor, thanks to a $16.9 million federal grant announced today by U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, Gov. Steve Beshear and Mayor Greg Fischer.
“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 Yarmuth. “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.”
Dixie has long been one of Louisville’s most important and busiest transportation and development corridors, providing a critical link for residents and businesses in southwest Louisville to jobs, educational institutions and medical centers elsewhere, as well as the nearby U.S. Army base at Fort Knox. In sections, Dixie Highway carries more than 60,000 vehicles per day and hosts the region’s busiest bus route, Route 18, serving more than 4,800 daily riders.
But the corridor’s current poor design negatively affects all transportation users and leads to double the number of injury-collisions when compared to similar roadways statewide.
The Transforming Dixie Highway project, funded through a federal TIGER grant and $11.5 million from the state, has three components: intelligent traffic signalization designed to reduce commuter delays; improved safety through new sidewalks and improved crosswalks; and new buses and enhanced stops to accommodate Bus Rapid Transit, with lanes designated for buses only.
“Dixie Highway once ran through farmland, minutes from downtown Louisville. But over the last 100 years it has grown to become a critical corridor for the movement of people and freight between Louisville, Fort Knox and points to the southwest,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “Today it is wide, heavily used and often unsafe. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet long has recognized Dixie Highway’s strategic importance and poor repair and committed $11.5 million in state road funds toward the required match for a TIGER grant. With the TIGER grant now secured, the cabinet and Louisville Metro Government will be empowered to take a holistic approach to the Dixie Highway corridor, addressing safety, congestion, transit operations, access management and pedestrian connectivity in an integrated way.”
Fischer agreed the grant application “was a true team effort – from the Mayor’s Office to Congressman Yarmuth to Governor Beshear and many others. This would not have been possible without the support of state legislators and Metro Council members, who are providing matching investments.”
“The name Dixie Highway is synonymous with traffic congestion, pedestrian deaths and vehicle accidents,” the mayor said. “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.”
“It’s not often that we can make such an impactful investment that will have a positive long-term impact on the community,” he said. “We set out to think big and think bold about a better and safer Dixie Highway – and now we have the federal dollars to bring this innovative project to reality.”
The Transforming Dixie Highway project was designed to move beyond incremental efforts made in the past to address congestion, safety and efficiency. The project takes a more strategic and comprehensive approach to building a sustainable, safe and well-managed transportation link between Louisville’s downtown and its southwestern communities.
For more details on the city’s Transforming Dixie Highway project, click here.