Crews working long hours to clean up graffiti as Louisville awai - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Crews working long hours to clean up graffiti as Louisville awaits Derby visitors

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Crews are working long hours this week to cover up graffiti popping up around downtown Louisville.

Much of the new paint showed up a few days ago around Spaghetti Junction. A Kentucky Department of Transportation spokesperson said that is not the first impression the city wants to give for visitors coming in for the Kentucky Derby.

“The cabinet has put this on the front burner during the Derby week,” said KYTC spokesperson Ryan Watts.

Walsh Construction is still under contract for everything in the I-65/I-64/I-71 corridor outside of downtown Louisville. So the company is responsible for cleaning any graffiti up.

A team of four Walsh crew members spent eight hours Tuesday painting over and power-washing graffiti on multiple columns, retaining walls, ramps and overpasses. Steven Schauer, a Walsh project manager, said it could cost between $300 and $400 each hour for labor, safety precautions and equipment.

That price depends on how large the job is. Schauer said some smaller tags will take an hour, but a larger mural could take two or more hours to cover. And on some areas that could take extra time because they will add a protective layer after the paint is washed off. The layer is silicone-based and will repel graffiti in the future.

The project manager added that the cleanup work is costing the company money, but Schauer expects this will be the last sweep Walsh workers will have to make, because KYTC could be taking over the contract by next week. At that point, graffiti cleanup will need to be budgeted for and managed by KYTC crews.

"Graffiti is a long-term problem for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, and it is a concern,” Watts said. "[But] we don't have all the necessary resources or the crews each week to go out and assess the situation. So it's kind of a back-burner issue for the Transportation Cabinet. But it is an unsightly mess for us. And we have mechanisms in place to address the graffiti.”

Watts could not say how often graffiti would be cleaned up in the future. He said it will depend on the resources. The same crews that deal with graffiti also perform other jobs across the county.

If you’re caught, graffiti would fall under Criminal Mischief. A spokesperson for LMPD said the severity of that charge would depend on the amount of damage.

If you see any graffiti on state roads, signs, bridges, walls or guardrails, call your local KYTC district office. The District 5 office number is 502-210-5400.

And to report graffiti on city property, call the Louisville Codes and Regulations Department at (502) 574-2508.

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