Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Unveils New Warning System for Communities Below Wolf Creek Dam

Press Release Date:  Friday, October 19, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Doug Hogan

Governor also breaks ground for $53 million highway investment

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today unveiled an outdoor warning system for residents of four counties below Wolf Creek Dam.

A system of sirens would sound a warning throughout Cumberland, Clinton, Monroe and Russell counties in the event of a failure at the dam, which holds back Lake Cumberland. The sirens also can be used during times of severe weather and other emergencies.

Wolf Creek Dam is undergoing repairs by the Army Corps of Engineers to halt erosion around its base.

“Since the Wolf Creek Dam issue first surfaced, we have taken every precaution possible to ensure your safety and the safety of your friends and family,” Governor Fletcher told a gathering at Cumberland County Elementary School, in Burkesville.  “One thing that many of you told me this region needed was an outdoor warning system – and you are getting it.”

Plans call for 16 weather sirens to be arrayed in the area. Eight sirens would be installed in Cumberland County, five in Russell County, two in Monroe County and one in Clinton County. The sirens are designed to be audible for as far as four air miles.

The warning system is one of several actions taken by Governor Fletcher on behalf of the affected counties since the Corps of Engineers disclosed that the dam was eroding. Failure of the dam is considered unlikely, but Governor Fletcher has left nothing to chance. At his direction, enhanced and reverse 9-1-1 emergency dispatch systems have been implemented, and extensive disaster planning has taken place. Weather radios have been distributed to households.

“I want to commend Congressman Hal Rogers and Congressman Ed Whitfield for their commitment to helping protect the people of this region,” said Governor Fletcher.  “Without their tireless efforts, many of the resources we are using to ensure the safety of people in the Lake Cumberland area would not have been possible.”  

Following the announcement of the new warning sirens, Governor Fletcher joined Senate President David L. Williams, Secretary of Transportation Bill Nighbert, Cumberland County Judge-Executive Tim Hicks, Burkesville Mayor Keith Riddle and other community leaders in breaking ground on a $53 million investment to improve two heavily traveled routes in Cumberland County.  The two-pronged design/build project includes reconstruction of a section of KY 61 and critical safety improvements along KY 90. 

“I am committed to building safer roads that lead to new opportunities,” said Governor Fletcher.  “Today we are breaking ground on a project that will benefit this community for many years to come.”

Kentucky’s innovative use of a “design/build” process for highway projects allows work to be completed more quickly and efficiently. Contractors work simultaneously on different aspects of the project, including design and construction.

Williams (R-Burkesville) applauded Governor Fletcher for his commitment to Cumberland County. 

”This is a significant transportation project for Cumberland County,” Williams said.  “Governor Fletcher’s support for this project has been critical in moving it forward.  As president of the Kentucky Senate, I am honored to work with a man who is committed to going the extra mile to make our state a better place to live, work and raise a family.  Furthermore, the investment we are making in an outdoor emergency warning system will help keep our families safe in the event of a natural disaster.”

“I appreciate Governor Fletcher’s commitment to keeping our residents safe,” said Rep. Jamie Comer (R-Tompkinsville).  “The outdoor warning sirens will provide another critical line of defense for thousands of residents during severe weather situations and other life-threatening emergencies.  I’m also excited to help celebrate the groundbreaking for the KY 90 and KY 61 improvement projects, which will improve safety and mobility, not only for the people of Cumberland County, but for the hundreds of thousands of visitors who travel those roads en route to Dale Hollow Lake.”

The project includes reconstruction of a 5.5-mile section of KY 61 from Jones Chapel to a point just south of KY 704.  The new roadway will have improved shoulders, wider bridges, and improved drainage.

Today’s announcement incorporates several improvements along KY 90 at various locations between Burkesville and the Metcalfe County line, including:

  • From the KY 61/KY 90 intersection to Cumberland County Hospital. KY 90 will be reconstructed, with new curbs, gutters and sidewalks. The intersection in Burkesville also will be improved to reduce congestion and improving mobility.
  • KY 90 at the Sawmill Curve, just north of Burkesville, to Thrasher Hollow Road. The roadway will be straightened to eliminate curves that frequently have been scenes of accidents.
  • Curve near Marrowbone at Wisdom Creek Bridge. KY 90 will be raised to address a flooding problem.
  • KY 90\KY 100. The roadway will be reconstructed to improve safety at the intersection.
  • West of Marrowbone to the Metcalfe County line. A four-mile section of KY 90 will be reconstructed, with 12-foot lanes and 10-foot shoulders

“These projects are the right things to do because they offer hope and peace of mind for local residents,” said Governor Fletcher.  “We are all Kentuckians and these investments benefit us all.”