Days before the Kentucky Derby, some downtown Louisville streets remain in rough shape
We're six weeks into spring -- and three days before the city's premiere event of the year. So why haven't many of downtown Louisville's most-traveled streets been paved yet?
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- In December, the city of Louisville announced plans to finally repave some of downtown's most torn-up streets. Yet six weeks into spring and three days before the city's premiere event of the year those streets are as bad as ever.
They're the streets people have come to hate: Chestnut Street, Liberty Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard. They're the streets filled with cracks, ruts and craters that have drained downtown drivers of every ounce of their patience.
Unfortunately, they are also the same streets that will be traveled this week by thousands of Kentucky Derby visitors who have plunked down top dollar to stay at some of the downtown's finest hotels, including the brand new Omni, the Hilton Garden Inn, Embassy Suites and the Seelbach.
"It's kind of embarrassing for out-of-towners anyway, because this is Derby," one driver said. "We should have better roads than this around Derby."
Metro Public Works Spokesman Harold Adams said crews have been paving streets like Brook, Floyd and York Streets, all of which lie on the fringe of downtown Louisville. Adams said one issue, bad weather, is causing a late start to the paving season.
"We lost a great deal of March because we had much later snow events than we had in previous years," he said. "So we lost time. And then we got a couple of weeks in before we, again, had to spend before Derby festival season really just to make way for the crowds and visitors that are here."
But why didn't the city plan to do (the much more heavily-traveled and visible) Liberty Street, Muhammad Ali Boulevard and Chestnut Street first in order to have them done before Louisville's premier event of the year? Adams said underground utility work along those streets put the brakes on that idea.
"We obviously don't want to pave a street and have them come in right behind us and tear it up, so it just has to be repaved again," Adams said.
With that utility work now done, the only thing stopping the paving is the desire to prevent further frustration of Derby drivers. As soon as the crowds clear, paving crews will hear their own call to the post.
"You'll see it ramp up really quickly right after Derby," Adams said.
At that point, the city hopes your drive to your homestretch will soon be a much smoother ride.
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