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Monthslong development on Bardstown Road corridor to begin

Construction is set to begin as early as this week along the Bardstown Road and Baxter Avenue corridor. It’s part of a five-month-long local and state project aimed at improving safety on one of Louisville’s busiest streets.

Bardstown Road is located near the city’s downtown area and hosts many locally-owned stores and restaurants. It’s also close to Cherokee Park, one of Louisville's most popular parks.

The changes will take place along a roughly 1.5-mile stretch of the corridor between Bonnycastle Avenue and Broadway Avenue in the Highlands neighborhood. They include road resurfacing, curb extensions and updated intersection crossings.

Louisville Metro Public Works is overseeing most of the street’s curb extensions, which replace some road space with expanded curbs, and the removal of unused overhead lane lights. Public Works approved a contractor Monday to begin work on the project, which is scheduled to end around June or July, according to Metro Council Member Cassie Chambers Armstrong.

Jim Hannah, a spokesperson for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), said the state will begin work on the project in July after Public Works’ completes its portion. KYTC’s phase would involve resurfacing, intersection visibility improvements and more curb extensions.

The concrete and resurfacing changes should be complete by mid-September. The corridor improvement project will wrap up in late October, when KYTC’s work is done.

The corridor’s sidewalks will also undergo changes beyond the curb extensions. Large poles currently in place that hold up the lane lights will be removed, and KYTC will cut over 100 spaces for trees into the adjacent sidewalks. According to the project’s plan sheet, there are currently about 20 trees near the section of the street being renovated.

TreesLouisville, a nonprofit that promotes and plants urban trees, will be responsible for introducing and maintaining the new trees. Cindi Sullivan, TreesLouisville’s executive director, said that her organization currently maintains over 200 trees adjacent to and near Bardstown Road.

At a community meeting Monday explaining the upcoming developments Chambers Armstrong, a Democrat who represents District 8, acknowledged that construction along the road may be frustrating to commuters, she said its impact would go far. She represents the area that encompasses the stretch of corridor that will be renovated.

“This is an investment in the future of Bardstown Road. It's an area that needs some love and attention, and it's finally getting that,” Chambers Armstrong said.

She also cited a safety report commissioned by her predecessor, former Metro Council Member Brandon Coan, as being the catalyst for the changes.

The 2018 study found an annual average of nearly 550 crashes on the Bardstown Road and Baxter Avenue corridor between 2013 and 2017. There were about nine pedestrian strikes a year, some fatal.

Zachary Neihof, KYTC’s traffic operations supervisor, said the project aims to make pedestrians feel protected along the corridor.

“When I walk down Bardstown road, I want to feel comfortable. I want to feel seen and safe. And so our goal with the completion of this project is that we meet all of those needs,” said Neihof.

Funding for Public Works’ changes was provided by Metro Council and the local community, the latter of which raised $150,000 for the project. Neither Public Works nor KYTC provided overall estimated budgets for the renovations.

Jacob is LPM's Business and Development Reporter. Email Jacob at jmunoz@lpm.org.

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