Making progress

Westport Road widening on pace
from downtown to Gene Snyder

By Don Ward

LOUISVILLE (February 2006) – Pending good weather between now and spring and the relocation of utility lines, ongoing work to widen five miles of Westport Road all the way to the I-265 Gene Snyder Freeway is progressing on schedule, according to Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials.

Westport Road

More than 100 people gathered Jan. 19 at Episcopal Church Home to hear the latest news on the ongoing road widening project. It was the third such forum sponsored by the North East Louisville Business Association. Two previous forums were held early last year.
“The only thing stopping us (from staying on schedule) is utility relocation,” said Greg Groves, Branch Manager for Pre-Construction.
The widening project is taking place in four sections at a time. The first section to Lyndon Lane is completed. The second section extends to Hurstbourne Parkway. Officials are accepting bids on that section now, Groves said. “Work will begin in spring and we will start turning dirt as soon as the utilities have been relocated.”
Bids will be let for work on the “West Section,” from Ambrose Circle to Hubbards Lane, in fall 2006, he said.
The new interchange at Watterson Expressway will be the final piece of the project. The major parcels of private land for the interchange were purchased eight years ago, but some “slivers of backyards” still need to be negotiated. Federal funding for the interchange was made available last December. Construction is expected to begin in late 2006 or early 2007, Groves said, with completion planned for late 2008 or early 2009.
“The interchange is a two-year project,” Groves said. It will be designed as an “urban diamond,” similar to the one at Bardstown Road and I-264, where the ramps come in to one stoplight. The design also will incorporate 14-foot decorative retaining walls to act as sound barriers, he said.
The section of Westport Road from Lyndon Lane to Hurstbourne Parkway is being funded with state money, but the rest of the widening project and the interchange is being paid for with federal dollars.
Groves noted that $1 million was added to the yet-to-be-approved Six-Year Highway Plan for landscaping the entire route. “We will need to sit down with local neighborhood associations to work out an agreement on how to maintain that landscaping, once it’s there,” he said.
Asked about the installation of new traffic lights, Groves said no additional stoplights are planned. “We have a department that is constantly monitoring roads for the need for new stoplights, but we generally don’t like to put them up because once they’re in, they’re usually there forever.” Groves added that the current 35-mph speed limit would remain the same on the finished road.
Ellen Wade, the business association’s president, said such forums are important to help residents and business owners stay up to date on major changes to their community.
“We have held these meetings to help the neighborhoods understand how they can work better together with government,” Wade said.

• For more information about the North East Louisville Business Association, which serves Brownsboro and Westport Roads, visit: www.nelba.com.

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