Dixie Highway is one of Louisville Metro’s busiest, widest and most dangerous transportation corridors. Its fatality rate is more than three times the rate of similar highways.
Improving safety, mobility and economic development are vital to the thousands of residents and businesses that depend on Dixie Highway. More than 60,000 drivers and nearly 5,000 transit riders travel this busy corridor daily.
The New Dixie Highway
The New Dixie Highway represents a $50 million investment to improve safety, mobility and livability along the corridor. It's the largest local investment in infrastructure outside the Ohio River Bridges Project and the first major step toward the ultimate vision of a safer, visually pleasing, dynamic and business-friendly area. These initial improvements will help spur more investment in future Dixie Highway enhancements in the coming years.
The New Dixie Highway is the first project under Mayor Greg Fischer’s MOVE Louisville initiative, which seeks to modernize and improve transportation across the metro area
The $50 million overall investment also includes $14.5 million in pavement replacement and resurfacing underway along a five-mile segement from Stonegate Manor Drive to Greenwood Road. The entire project area runs from the Gene Snyder Freeway to downtown Louisville, spanning more than 14 miles.
The project is fueled by a combination of federal, state and local funds. Work will follow priorities outlined in the successful 2015 U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER Grant application.
The New Dixie Highway project will focus on three major goals:
- Making Dixie Highway safer for drivers and pedestrians.
- Improving traffic flow between the Gene Snyder Freeway and downtown.
- Creating a more efficient and more reliable transit service for TARC riders.
To achieve those goals, the project will concentrate on three major areas of improvement:
- Roadway safety and design improvements, including raised medians and left-hand-only turn lanes, along the most congested and dangerous section (Crums Lane to Greenwood Road).
- A new Intelligent Transportation System that will improve and coordinate traffic signal timing along the entire corridor.
- The region’s first bus rapid transit route, a line of priority buses and more than two dozen highly visible stations that will improve travel times for both transit riders and motorists.
Improving safety along Dixie Highway is the No. 1 priority of The New Dixie Highway project. Between the years 2010-14, the New Dixie project area was the scene for 34 traffic-related fatalities. This rate of fatal crashes is more than three times the rate of similar roadways in Kentucky.
As part of the Louisville Metro Complete Streets initiative, The New Dixie Highway project will make infrastructure improvements in high-traffic areas (between Crums Lane and Greenwood Road), including:
- More pedestrian pathways
- Improved connections in the most dangerous areas, especially for pedestrians and bus riders
- Increased use of raised medians to improve safety for left turns
- Some driveway consolidations
- Signage and striping upgrades for lanes and crosswalks
- Other safety enhancements
Smarter Traffic Flow
Cell phones are not the only things getting smarter these days. Traffic control technology also is improving to allow vehicles to move through busy corridors more quickly and efficiently.
A key element of The New Dixie Highway will be the use of Intelligent Transportation System/Advanced Traffic Management System technology. The new technology will monitor vehicle traffic and adjust traffic signal timing to improve traffic flow and relieve congestion, which may also reduce crashes.
The system will be connected to Louisville’s traffic-management system using fiber-optic lines that will be able to support future communications technology for intersecting streets, cameras, dynamic message signs and other future ITS systems and equipment.
Bus Rapid Transit Service
TARC’s Route 18, which serves the Dixie Highway corridor, is the area’s best-performing bus route, carrying an average of more than 4,000 riders daily. However, high demand for service combined with traffic congestion along the corridor often causes delays to scheduled stops.
The launch of Louisville’s first bus rapid transit line will improve, speed, service and reliability on the Route 18 line and transform the look and feel of the Dixie Highway Corridor. This system, which eventually could be expanded to other parts of TARC’s service area, will include:
- More than 30 distinctive bus-rapid transit stops along the length of the Dixie Highway corridor
- TARC-designated queue-jump lanes and bus turnouts that make it safer and easier for buses to re-enter traffic after stops
- A Traffic Signal Priority system connected with the Intelligent Transportation System
- Newly branded buses designated for the Dixie Highway corridor
- Sidewalk improvements to improve access to bus rapid transit stations
Please go here for a list and map of planned BRT stops.
As of July 19, 2018:
Work already completed: Construction workers ground down existing medians in order to create space to shift traffic lanes. Workers needed the lane closest to the curb for utility location and improvements. To avoid reducing driving lanes, the team removed medians to shift traffic and maintain traffic capacity. This allowed crews to begin utility work with less impact for drivers.
Crews completed water main location and storm drainage improvements between Greenwood and Blanton on the northbound side of Dixie Highway and between Heaton and Upper Hunters Trace on the southbound side. Once the underground work was completed, crews installed curbs and added, expanded, and/or connected sidewalks. By July 2018, construction crews had completed nearly 6,000 linear feet of curb and gutter, and about 3,000 linear feet of sidewalk.
Summer 2018: Crews switched to the southbound side of the road between Greenwood and Blanton in late June. In the coming weeks, crews will switch to the northbound side between Heaton and Upper Hunters Trace. Then, crews will repeat the same kind of work they did on the opposite sides of the road: locating water mains, improving storm drainage, adding new curb and gutter, and adding or completing sidewalks.
End of 2018 to early 2019: Once the outer “sides” of the project are done, medians will be installed in the center of Dixie, from Crums Lane to Greenwood Road. Once medians and signs are installed, drivers can begin utilizing U-turns to reach destinations on the opposite side of Dixie.
Spring of 2019: 37 new RAPID bus stops will be installed. New pavement surfacing and striping will be added last.