Debating Freeway Expansion Projects Around Louisville

Several large freeway expansion projects are in various stages of planning and development in the Louisville region of Kentucky. Critics say the projects reflect an obsolete approach to planning and will hurt the state and the city.

2 minute read

June 18, 2019, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Interstate Freeways

Robin J.Gentry / Shutterstock

Marcus Green reports on an emerging debate and about land use and transportation in Kentucky, as the state is planning and building multiple massive highway widening projects in the Louisville area while facing financial challenges.

The big highway project closest to fruition in the Louisville area is the work of a plan called I-Move Kentucky. Green introduces the project:

Aiming to ease congestion and boost safety, Kentucky plans to launch an ambitious highway expansion project later this year called I-Move Kentucky. It would add lanes to I-71 between the Gene Snyder Freeway and Ky. 329 near Crestwood, widen parts of the Snyder and rebuild ramps at the freeway’s interchange with I-64.

While commuters are hopeful the project will reduce travel times along the corridors, advocacy organizations like Bicycling for Louisville are calling the project an example of misplaced priorities.

At the same time, the state is evaluating routes for another bypass around Louisville, including one corridor near eastern Jefferson County’s award-winning Floyds Fork parks system. Early cost estimates for the project, which has been likened to a new Snyder Freeway, range from $600 million to $1.6 billion.

As Green points out, the city has a goal to cut emissions by 80 percent by 2050, and highway projects like these won't help the city achieve those goals.

Regardless, the state will award a contract in October to launch construction in the I-Move Kentucky projects.

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