Rough ride for downtown Louisville drivers will soon get smoothe - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Rough ride for downtown Louisville drivers will soon get smoother

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- From torn up streets to closed lanes to gridlocked traffic, the condition of downtown Louisville streets can leave folks a little less than jolly, even during the holiday season.

Whether you're on Chestnut Street, Muhammad Ali Boulevard, Liberty Street or a host of others, you get the feeling Louisville isn't exactly rolling out the red carpet for drivers.

But there's actually a very good reason that at least some of these streets have been let go for so long. In the case of Liberty Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard one block south, they run right next to the new Omni Hotel, which is set to be finished in the spring.

And that's when Metro Public Works crews will get to work in the downtown area. The schedule includes repaving Liberty Street, Muhammad Ali Boulevard, Chestnut Street, Brook Street, Floyd Street and York Street. But, why haven't at least some of these streets been done before now?

"When you bring in a paving company to do a job, it has to be a big enough job to make it economically make sense," said Harold Adams, Director of Metro Public Works. "So they have to do more than one street."

Drivers have also been having to deal with crews blocking off lanes and digging up streets to replace gas lines. But that more-than-20-year project is just now wrapping up.

"What it's done is replace some of those older materials, the cast iron, wrought iron and bare steel mains, that are down in the ground ... with newer materials, predominantly plastic, that enhances the reliability and the safety of the system," said LG&E Spokesperson Natasha Collins.

While that project will be in the rearview mirror when crews begin paving, Public Works and utility companies are working together to make sure that new asphalt doesn't go to waste because of other work that needs to be done underground.

"We have monthly coordination meetings with the utility companies to see who's doing what and when so that we don't pave a street that they're then just going to come back and tear up the next month," said Adams, adding that work will begin in March, weather permitting.

So good things will come to drivers who wait. In just a few months, navigating through downtown should be a much smoother experience.

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