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Road Paving Picks Up After Council Investment

city road

The Louisville Metro Council's effort to boost city spending on road repair seems to be paying off.

For the first time in nearly a decade, city crews will end the paving season with more than 100 miles of fresh asphalt, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced at a news conference Friday morning.

Not since the 2008 economic recession have city crews been able to pave more than 100 miles of roads, he said. By the end of the current paving season some 130 roads are expected to be paved.

Fischer pointed to the recently released MOVE Louisville plan, which lays out a long range transportation plan for the city, as the impetus for investing more funds in road repair.

The plan would institute a "fix-it first" strategy if adopted in the city's next Comprehensive Plan, which would guide development for the next two decades.

Fixing roads is a focus of the Louisville Metro Council.

During budget deliberationsearlier this year, council members directed some $23 million in city funds to road repair. The allotment is nearly four times higher than was allocated in 2015 and one of the biggest investments in road repair since the city and county merged in 2003.

Councilwoman Marianne Butler, chair of the budget committee, said roads are vital to city-life.

"Paving is going to help with you economic development, it helps with your neighborhoods and it helps just bring people up and feel better," she said.

Despite the year's success in paving, there is still much work to be done regarding improving the city's streets.

A spokesman for the city's Public Works department said there remains some $110 million worth of road repair work still needing to be completed. Sidewalks are also in need of nearly $80 million in repairs.

Council president David Yates said the council is sticking with a "10-year plan so we can directly attack the deferred maintenance issues," which includes repairing roads, sidewalks and other city owned infrastructure.

"It's responsible government," he said. "We can really do transformational projects and make Louisville the great city it can be."

Jacob Ryan is an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.