Downtown Louisville drivers thrilled to see newly paved streets

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It was a long winter of discontent for drivers in downtown Louisville.

Utility projects have closed down lanes and ripped up streets that were already a pain in driver's sides and suspensions for years.

But Thursday came a beautiful sight: fresh asphalt on what had been among the biggest nightmares — Liberty Street from Ninth all the way to Second Streets. It's now a smooth ride, and drivers couldn't be more thrilled.

The paving came two weeks after another of the downtown disasters, Chestnut Street, got a complete makeover. This all was originally set to happen a year ago, but a combination of weather issues and utility projects pushed it back.

"This has really been a multi-year process, just collaborating with all of the utilities," said Jeff Brown, assistant director of Metro Public Works.

But Brown said most of that utility work now is in the rearview mirror.

"They knew what our deadlines were and which streets we had scheduled to be paved," he said. "And that's where we gave them an opportunity to come in early and bring all of the substandard infrastructure that's under that road back up to meet the current requirements.

And the good news is there's a lot more to come. The third of the terrible trio of downtown east-west streets, Muhammad Ali Boulevard, is set to be paved right after the Kentucky Derby.

After that comes Third Street, part of the two-way conversion project that should be done by July 1. Then, portions of Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Streets that haven't yet been paved are expected to be before the end of the year. Then, Brown said, it should be a smooth ride downtown for a while.

"We're hoping we've addressed all of the issues that are downtown and that, other than new services and emergencies, there shouldn't be any utilities cutting open these newly paved roads," he said.

Brown said drivers can expect downtown streets to stay smooth for at least the next decade.

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