By Baylee Pulliam–
The University of Louisville has secured around $31 million to preempt access problems to a new development project on the Belknap campus’ south side.
The Belknap Engineering and Applied Science Research Park, a project of the U of L Foundation, will go on the nearly 40-acre plot stretching from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
But the railroad tracks that surround the triangular plot threaten to stymie road access, said U of L spokesperson Cindy Hess.
Hess said the university plans to build “flyover” ramps over the railroads, to avoid the potential traffic headache.
“That’s why this road project is so important,” Hess said.
The ramps will cost around $31 million, and branch from the research park to bordering Brook and Iowa Streets. The Iowa Street ramp is expected to pull double duty as a decorative entrance to the Belknap campus.
About $6.2 million of the total budget comes from the U of L Foundation, said university spokesman Mark Hebert. An additional $24.8 million comes from the recently approved state transportation budget.
The roads are slated for completion around two years from now, Hebert said.
The university will begin planning and design later this year, when funds become available in the 2012-2013 budget. Hess said $11 million of the initial budget would go to establish right of way, relocate utilities and design the road system.
The remaining $20 million would go toward a “contractor and bridge and road” construction, but that money isn’t scheduled to be available until 2014, according to the state’s 6-year road plan, Hebert said. But the university would “like to get that timetable moved up a year, if possible.”
Hebert said the date of completion for the research park itself is still hazy. “It’s safe to say we hope the entire site is fully developed in 10-15 years but we’re not sure what types of companies or U of L-related projects will wind up there,” he said.
Map courtesy University of Louisville Office of Communications and Marketing. (Note: The map depicted is still in the design phase and is subject to change.)