Part of Third Street to close downtown for 10 months starting Tu - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Part of Third Street to close downtown for 10 months starting Tuesday

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- When commuters resume their trek into downtown Louisville after the holidays, they will encounter a new traffic headache with the closing of a major downtown artery.

Beginning Tuesday morning, one block of Third Street between Market and Jefferson Streets is shutting down for 10 months.

So far, crews reconstructing the downtown convention center have been able to avoid major traffic disruptions. That changes on Tuesday when they begin moving heavy steel beams overhead.

“It's just imperative that it be closed to vehicles and to pedestrian traffic for safety reasons as they continue working overhead,” said Amanda Storment, spokesperson for the Kentucky State Fair Board.

Signs are in place warning of the change. LMPD is telling commuters to be ready and be patient.

“It's going to cause some headaches early on,” said Lt. Joe Seelye, commander of the LMPD Traffic Unit.

In fact, LMPD is recommending commuters avoid Third St. if possible.

Instead of coming off I-64 westbound at the Third Street ramp, commuters could try getting off at Ninth Street.

Another option is the Brooks Street Exit off I-65 southbound.

For at least the first week, LMPD plans to station eight officers at the intersection, morning and afternoon, to direct traffic and prevent problems.

Officers will especially watch for drivers blocking, or holding, intersections.

“We don't want to get into writing citations unless it's absolutely necessary. But it is going to become difficult if you hold the intersection, and people can't exit the garages, and then the frustration builds,” Seelye said.

The Bistro 301 restaurant has been a staple at Third and Market Streets for 20 years.

New owner Doug Prather says with the convention center closed, he's already seen a drop in business.

He's expecting another hit when Third Street closes.

“I think more than anything, the locals are going to hear about some traffic issues, and problems with the re-routing. It's only one block, but it's a pretty popular block,” he said.

It will be a nearly year-long headache, but Prather is looking on the bright side. There will be up to a thousand construction workers on this block for the next 18 months.

“That's become a really big part of our marketing strategy. Those guys love our burger.”

And everyone seems to agree, the progress will be worth the pain, when the brand new convention center opens in 2018.

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