Department of Highways, District 10
Transportation Cabinet Stresses Motorist Safety in Work Zones as Road Construction Season Begins in the Bluegrass

Press Release Date:  Monday, April 16, 2007  
Contact Information:  H.B. ELKINS
(606) 666-8841

JACKSON, KY – (April 16, 2007) – Spring is the time when flowers burst out of the ground and trees bloom, turning Kentucky’s hillsides into walls of bright colors.


It is also the time when orange cones and barrels sprout along the Commonwealth’s roadsides, as the highway construction season gets into gear.


That’s why the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is stressing work zone safety this month in an effort to reduce the number of injury and fatality accidents in areas where construction and maintenance projects are ongoing. The effort is intended to protect motorists as well as construction workers.


“Highway work zones present special situations for drivers,” said Linda Wagner-Justice, chief district engineer for the Department of Highways District 10. “The combination of heavy equipment, temporary traffic pattern alterations, stopped or slowed traffic, changing road surface conditions and the presence of workers makes for an environment that requires drivers to concentrate and be especially cautious. Both drivers and workers are at risk in highway construction and maintenance project areas.”


This year’s national work zone safety awareness theme is “Signs of Change.”


“That is an extremely appropriate theme,” Wagner-Justice said. “Signs in construction zones alert drivers to the presence of workers, warn them of upcoming turns or movements or lane closures, and inform them of reduced speeds in the work areas. Motorists should be sure to read and heed the orange signs they encounter in work zones to ensure their own safety and the safety of workers in the area.”


In many long-term construction zones, speed limits are reduced and drivers are subject to double fines for speeding violations. In others, limits are not lowered but advisory speeds are posted. In both cases, drivers should heed those speeds.


“Work zones can be hazardous not only to workers, but to drivers. At lower speeds, drivers can better react to changing conditions and help preserve not only their own safety, but the lives of those who take risks every day to make our transportation system better,” Wagner-Justice said.


Drivers in all 10 counties within District 10 will encounter construction work this year. Motorists are urged to use caution on these highways and others where projects are planned or are already underway, including the following routes.


  • Mountain Parkway, bridge replacement at Exit 72 in Magoffin County.
  • Mountain Parkway, resurfacing between the Clark County line and Exit 18 in Powell County.
  • US 460, replacement of Licking River bridge in Magoffin County.
  • KY 7, resurfacing between milepoints 0 and 1 in Morgan County.
  • KY 7, reconstruction between milepoints 0 and 3 in Perry County.
  • KY 15, relocation between milepoints 18 and 21 in Breathitt County.
  • KY 28, turn lane construction between milepoints 0 and 1 in Owsley County.
  • KY 30, bridge replacement between milepoints 3 and 4 in Owsley County.
  • KY 52, relocation between milepoints 12 and 13 in Lee County.
  • KY 82, curve revision between milepoints 4 and 5 in Estill County.
  • KY 213, resurfacing between Estill County line and milepoint 3 in Powell County.
  • KY 451, replacement of bridge crossing the North Fork of the Kentucky River in Perry County.
  • KY 550, turn lane construction in Perry County.
  • KY 3231, resurfacing between milepoints 0 and 1 in Breathitt County.


Not only will there be ongoing construction in these areas, but maintenance projects will be underway on a daily basis in each county. Such projects include patching, ditching, mowing, guardrail repairs, tree and brush trimming and similar activities. These maintenance locations vary in location from day to day, so motorists should be especially cautious when they encounter signage that alerts them to maintenance activities and the presence of flaggers and workers.


“Drivers may encounter stopped traffic at any time when our Transportation employees are working to keep the roads in top shape,” Wagner-Justice said. “When they see a sign indicating work is ongoing ahead, they should slow down and prepare to stop. Our employees are at risk every day when they work to maintain state highways and the caution of drivers can help keep them from being killed or seriously injured on the job.”


At a statewide memorial event held April 4 to mark the beginning of construction season in Kentucky and to honor those motorists and construction workers who have died statewide and across the nation, attendees heard the chilling tale of a recent work zone accident experienced by Phillip Crittenden, assistant foreman for the Franklin County Maintenance garage.


“It’s really all up to the driver,” Crittenden said. “Our lives are in their hands, and sometimes that’s scary.”


Highway workers are not the only individuals at risk in construction zones. Statistics show that 85 percent of those killed in work zone crashes are motorists, not workers. During the last two years in Kentucky, approximately 20 motorists have been killed in work zone accidents along with three construction workers.