LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Oh, the time we lose just sitting, going nowhere in our cars.
True, Louisville is no Los Angeles or New York City.
But it does have its moments and places that drivers describe with words like "It sucks, it's just bad."
Another said, "It's horrible."
"It's backed up, no matter what time of day," added another.
Weeks ago, officials revealed a plan to widen Louisville's interstates to ease traffic backups. But what about the rest of the city's roads? When asked about the worst spots to drive, Facebook users repeated the same three routes over and over again. They also happen to be the busiest, including Shelbyville Road, Hurstbourne Parkway and Dixie Highway.
By far the most comments were about Dixie Highway.
"It's way behind the times... way behind," Bill Higdon said.
"It's pretty rough, so I avoid this area altogether," another driver of Dixie Highway said. "It's forever long and awful, most of the time."
Not only is Dixie Highway known for traffic, but it's also known for tragedy with a history of pedestrian deaths that have earned it the nickname "Dixie Die-way."
But change is coming, aimed at making things much better for drivers and pedestrians.
"Right now on this roadway, we see about three times as many traffic crashes that we do in a typical corridor like this," said John Callihan, project manager for the New Dixie Highway Project.
The project got underway in December 2017 and is now about 40% finished. Four-and-a-half miles of raised medians are being installed this week from Greenwood Road up to Crums Lane. Before the medians, drivers could pretty much make a left turn anywhere on Dixie, but the medians will allow turns only at major intersections.
"It's very unpredictable for drivers to know when somebody's going to hop into that center turn lane or hop out into the travel lane from the center turn lane," Callihan said. "So this adds a predictability to the roadway to allow traffic to flow more efficiently."
Other changes include improved sidewalks and crosswalks and an overhaul to traffic signals, which will be tied together with fiber optic cable.
"That should allow the signals to be synced up so that if you hit a green light at one signal and you maintain a proper speed limit, you should get a green at the next signal as well," Callihan said.
But, Dixie Highway isn't the only place improvement is coming. The city just received $1.5 million to improve technology at more than 100 intersections along Hurstbourne Parkway as well as Shelbyville Road, Westport Road and other busy routes. It will allow traffic signals to do what they haven't really done before, which is communicate with each other.
Metro traffic engineer Pat Johnson says, "Most of the controllers that control the individual intersections — it's legacy equipment. It's older technology," Metro Traffic Engineer Pat Johnson said. "And the newer equipment has so much more in functionality and capabilities toward making signals run more efficiently."
Metro Public Works is also looking at technology that will essentially run itself, with traffic signals learning and adjusting to changing traffic flows.
"It can measure how each lane is being utilized, how long those cues are and then change the signal timing on the fly to address real-time issues," Assistant Metro Public Works Director Jeff Brown said.
That technology is probably still several years away, but until then, drivers said they'll settle for even a little improvement over what they say is just plain horrible.
The New Dixie Highway Project is expected to be wrapped up by the end of the year. Work to boost technology at those dozens of intersections elsewhere in the city should be finished by the beginning of 2021.
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