Department of Highways, District 5
Know Before You Go
LOUISVILLE, KY – (Dec. 22, 2005) – Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, travelers who need a quick update on conditions of major routes in the Commonwealth 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 and accident reports, construction updates and weather advisories. Motorists can check the 511 web site at http://511.ky.gov before they leave home or they can call 511 from any landline or cellular telephone to get information. Several of the most heavily-traveled routes in the 8 counties of the Transportation Cabinet’s Highway District 5 are included.
"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 and highway districts," said Krista Seymour, a public information officer for District 5. "By using 511, communication lines remain open for true crisis situations yet vital information about traffic and travel conditions in the Commonwealth is still available to motorists through a call or click to a very simple number to remember."
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 and interstates throughout District 5, which includes Bullitt, Henry, Franklin, Shelby, Oldham, Trimble, Spencer and Jefferson counties.
Last year when a snowstorm paralyzed much of Kentucky just before Christmas, the 511 system took calls from more than 300,000 travelers in that week. The automated voice prompt system can handle up to 600 phone calls at any given time. In District 5, information is available for example on the following routes: Interstate 64, Interstate 71, Interstate 65, I-265 the Gene Snyder Freeway, I-264 the Watterson and Shawnee Expressways, US 42, US 31W and KY 55.
"We hope motorists will call or log on before they leave home," said Seymour, "but if they choose to use their cell phones while in route, 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.
Barry Sanders, chief district engineer for District 5, urged motorists who must drive on wet or covered 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.
“And, of course, buckle up,” Sanders said. “Wearing your seat belt can save your life in the event of an accident.”