Department of Transportation grants Louisville $21 million for road safety projects
City officials say they plan to renovate nearly 10 miles of local roads with the help of federal investment.
The United States Department of Transportation announced Wednesday it granted $21.4 million to Louisville to improve roadway safety. The funding is through the agency’s Safe Streets and Roads for All Grant Program, created as part of the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Last year, the city applied for the grant to fund 10 of 22 potential projects identified in a report by Vision Zero Louisville, a government initiative on road safety. The selected projects focus mostly on stretches of road within the Watterson Expressway with the goal of “rightsizing,” a strategy that aims to calm traffic by reducing driving speeds and how often vehicles change lanes, according to Louisville’s Department of Public Works.
The agency wants to improve roads with at least four lanes carrying less than 20,000 vehicles a day. That could include converting streets to three lanes with a center turn lane.
In a Wednesday press conference, Mayor Craig Greenberg said the changes will help achieve the city’s goal of eliminating roadway deaths by 2050.
“These improvements are desperately needed. Tragically, more than 900 people have died on Louisville roadways since 2014,” Greenberg said.
Fatalities on public roads have risen since 2019, according to data from the Kentucky State Police and Louisville Metro Public Works.
Most or all of the 10 projects considering improvements to crosswalk visibility, adding bike lanes and overhauling road signage. Some may also create curb extensions, roundabouts and median islands for pedestrians.
Amanda Deatherage, a planner with Public Works, said the design process for most of the projects is expected to begin this year, and that the city is aiming to finish construction on all of them by the end of 2027.
She added that specific changes, including whether any potential bike lanes will be protected by a physical buffer, have not yet been decided.
“The preliminary designs are not final, but we do have a lot of riderway constrictions with these projects, so we’ll see how the final design process plays out,” Deatherage said.
The DOT grant makes up the bulk of the funding for these projects. The city of Louisville is providing $3.9 million in matching funding, and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will add $1.4 million.
The federal agency also awarded 14 grants to other Kentucky roadway safety planning projects, allocating more than $3.3 million combined for the initiatives.
The funding is part of $800 million announced Wednesday in national grants through the DOT road safety grants program.
In August, the DOT granted Louisville more than $20 million for its 9th Street and Broadway corridor projects. Among the projects’ goals is improving safety for pedestrians and other travelers.
This story was updated to clarify the project details are not yet final.