Dangerous exit ramp from Watterson Expressway onto Dixie Highway - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Dangerous exit ramp from Watterson Expressway onto Dixie Highway being rebuilt

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The ramp onto northbound Dixie Highway from the westbound Watterson Expressway is one of Louisville's hot spots for traffic accidents.

According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, there have been 111 wrecks on it over the past five years. Ninety-one percent of those have been rear-end collisions.

Tom Kelly has co-owned the Cutting Edge barber shop on Dixie Highway for more than 30 years, and he's seen his share of mishaps from traffic trying to merge onto Dixie from I-264.

“We've seen a lot of wrecks,” Kelly said. “A lot of bad design, actually, is what's going on with that ramp.”

The ramp design first takes drivers up a slight incline, then down into a sharp turn onto one of Louisville's busiest streets where drivers must quickly look over their shoulders to avoid disaster.

“I see wrecks about every day,” Kelly said.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer acknowledged the problem.

“There's safety issues. There's mobility and traffic flow challenges that we have to address,” Fischer said as he announced a $724,000 project designed to fix the problem Monday.

A state road crew will take out the curve and straighten the ramp into a "T" intersection with a traffic light. The new design should help prevent rear-end collisions.

“We all know that maneuver we have to make. We have to look over our left shoulder to see if there's a car coming, and you have about 50 feet to do so," said Transportation Cabinet engineer Matt Bullock. "And while you're looking over your left hand, the car in front of you may have already stopped. So that's where all of these rear end collisions took place."

Sidewalks along Dixie Highway are also being added. The project is part of the larger $50 million Dixie Do-over.

“A lot of people have had to come together to and play nice to get this to work," Shively Mayor Sherry Conner said. "So we're just thrilled and can't wait to see the finished product."

The work will cause the ramp to close for nine days. There is no word yet as to exactly when that closure will happen, but Kelly said the pain will be worth the gain.

“I think it'll help a lot, because it will slow down that part of it where you have to take your eyes off the road,” he said.

The work is scheduled to be completed by November.

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