No accidents caused by rocks on stretch of US 23 where barrier fence installed

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, September 21, 2005  
Contact Information:  Sara George, Information Officer
Highway District 12
109 Loraine Street
Pikeville, Kentucky 41501


PIKE COUNTY—Wednesday, September 21, 2005—A rockfall barrier fence, installed a little more than two years ago along a section of US 23 in Pike County, has proven 100% effective in making the roadway more safe for the traveling public.

 “We are constantly looking for new ways to make our highways more safe,” said Danl Hall, Chief District Engineer for Highway District 12 of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. “This is just one example of an unusual engineering solution to what once was a consistent problem on this section of highway. We tracked accident reports for two years after installation and discovered that the system has been one hundred percent effective.”

 Greg Couch, Traffic Engineer with Highway District 12, said a study of accident reports indicate that there have been no crashes on the four-lane stretch of US 23 that begins at Yorkwood Forest Road. "This is the area that people usually refer to as Foxcroft. The fence runs parallel to US 23 on either side of the entrance to the Foxcroft residential area. Our information, based on law enforcement accident reports, indicates that there have been no problems on this section of roadway, at least not from falling rock or slides or debris, in more than two years. This coincides with the installation of the barrier fence.”

 There was a time when rocks and debris were a constant threat to people driving this section of the four-lane highway. Once the road was closed for several weeks because all four lanes were blocked by a massive rock slide.

 Hall said that a Transportation Cabinet study designated this section of US 23 at high risk for rock falls and at moderate risk for slides. “This was only the second use in the state of this type of barrier fence,” he said. “The dynamic structure was developed in Switzerland and is capable of absorbing impact energies far beyond anything we have experienced in our seven-county district. It is manufactured in this country by a company in Connecticut.”

 Hall explained that the fence is made of steel posts that support a flexible barrier made of connecting steel rings. It is positioned far enough away from the highwall that the district’s maintenance crew can clean behind the fence to remove rock and debris that is blocked from falling on the roadway.


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