LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Most people know that sidewalks are reserved for walking, but construction on Dixie Highway seems to be causing some confusion about where to drive and where to park.
The stretch of road sees more than 60,000 drivers and 4,000 transit users a day. It's busy, but it's also incredibly dangerous.
"Dixie Highway has a fatality rate that's three times higher than other roads of similar size," said Kerri Richardson, spokesperson for the New Dixie Highway Project. "That is not acceptable."
Drivers have likely noticed the major construction projects underway to increase safety along the corridor. The biggest change, perhaps, is the installation of new concrete medians along the center of the road.
"We're in the second phase of median construction right now, putting in some non-mountable concrete medians to prevent drivers from making mid-block left turns," Richardson said.
The hope is to reduce the number of crashes along Dixie Highway. The medians have been hard for some drivers to get used to, but there's also another issue.
"One thing that we've noticed over the last couple of weeks is people driving or parking on the new sidewalks," Richardson said.
It's not exactly clear why drivers are getting confused, but the new sidewalks are much larger. They measure more than 8 feet, which is about double the standard sidewalk size.
"They're boulevard style," Richardson said. "They feel very wide and welcoming, and they're designed to be attractive to pedestrians."
Crews have snapped a few photos of people parked on the sidewalks. Some are utility and other work trucks that shouldn't actually be parked there.
"We would ask them to make sure that they know where their utility easement is, because most of the time, is not on the sidewalk," Richardson said.
Sidewalks are not designed for the weight of cars and trucks, so Richardson said the brand new concrete will eventually crumble and crack.
"And after we've made a $1.5 million investment in sidewalks alone, we don't want that investment to be damaged," she said.
It also kind of defeats the purpose of the wider sidewalks, since they were designed to keep people safer.
"When the cars are moving into the sidewalk, that's going to force pedestrians to go elsewhere, and that really is not what we wanted to have happen with this project," Richardson said.
The New Dixie Highway Project should be complete by the end of the year.
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