Department of Highways, District 11
During Winter Weather, Road Condition Reports Are Just a Call or Click Away
When winter weather occurs, travelers who need a quick update on conditions on major routes in the Department of Highways District 11 can get information with a quick phone call or a simple click of the mouse on the computer.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's 511 Traffic & Travel Information System includes road condition reports, construction updates and weather advisories for several of the most heavily-traveled route in the 8 counties of the district. Motorists can check the 511 Web site at http://511.ky.gov before they leave home, or call 511 from any landline or cellular telephone for information.
"One of the purposes of establishing the 511 system was to cut down on the number of calls to emergency service providers such as law enforcement agencies," said Sandy Rudder, public information officer for District 11. "With this service, vital information on road conditions is available for motorists through a quick phone call to a very simple number to remember and emergency lines remain free for true crisis situations."
Not only is traffic information available from 511, but tourism information can also be obtained. Signs promoting the 511 system have been placed on highways throughout District 11, which includes Bell, Clay, Harlan, Jackson, Knox, Laurel, Leslie and Whitley counties.
In 2004 when a snowstorm paralyzed much of Kentucky before Christmas, the 511 system took calls from more than 300,000 travelers that week. The system can handle up to 600 phone calls at any given time. The automated system allows callers to give voice prompts to get information they need.
In District 11, information is available for the following routes: I-75, Hal Rogers Parkway, US 421, US 119, US 25, US 25E, US 25W, KY 11, KY 30, KY 80, KY 90 and KY 3081(Corbin Bypass).
"We hope motorists will call before they leave home," said Rudder, "but if they choose to use their cell phones, we urge them to 'Drive Smart' and pull off the roadway before they dial 511."
The Transportation Cabinet has adopted the use of standardized terms to describe winter road conditions. Motorists should familiarize themselves with these terms and their definitions as they make their decisions on whether or not to venture out during a winter storm:
• Wet Pavement – The roadway is wet. Ice could form as temperatures drop.
• Partly Covered – The roadway is partly covered with snow, slush or ice. Markings may be obscured.
• Mostly Covered – The roadway is mostly covered with snow, slush or ice. Roadway markers may be difficult to see because of packed snow and rutting conditions.
• Completely Covered – The roadway is completely covered with snow, slush or ice and markings are obscured.
• Impassable – Roadway conditions are not suitable for travel unless required by an emergency.
Greene L. Keith, chief district engineer for District 11, urges motorists who must drive on slick roads to slow down; allow a greater stopping distance between vehicles; avoid sudden starts, stops and turns; clean their windshields and windows of snow and ice to maximize visibility; and in general, allow extra time to reach their destination.
“Please buckle up,” said Mr. Keith. “Wearing your seat belt can save your life or the life of a passenger in the event of an accident.”