Transportation Cabinet

Press Release Date:  Friday, January 20, 2006  
Contact Information:  Doug Hogan
Office of Public Affairs
(502) 564-3419

LOUISVILLE, KY (January 20, 2006) - Governor Ernie Fletcher and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet announced today they are moving forward with installation of median cable barriers to improve safety on interstate highways.  Approval has been given by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for installation of a median cable barrier system as an experimental safety feature.


 “I am committed to improving the state’s highway network particularly in the area of safety,” said Governor Fletcher.  “We want to employ every feasible means of protecting motorists, including the use of innovative devices such as this cable system which will help reduce median crossover crashes.”


Construction contracts will be awarded later this spring for installation of the experimental system on two interstates in Jefferson County, Interstates 64 and 71.  On I-64, the median cable barriers will be installed from about ½ mile east of the Cochran Hill Tunnels to just east of Breckenridge Lane (mile points 8.663 to 11.57).  The I-71 project will extend from the Ohio Street Bridge in downtown Louisville to the Gene Snyder Freeway (mile points 0.017 to 9.063).


 “Providing a safe and reliable transportation system for motorists is the top priority of the Transportation Cabinet,” stated Secretary Bill Nighbert.  “We are investing almost $100 million more into our maintenance program this year to improve the condition of our existing roads and consequently improve safety for the motorists who travel them.”


In September 2004, Governor Fletcher established the Governor’s Executive Committee on Highway Safety to develop strategies for reducing highway fatalities and serious injuries.  “The use of median cables as barriers provides us with another tool in carrying out Governor Fletcher’s mission of lowering the number of lives lost due to highway crashes,” said Jim Adams, Transportation Cabinet Deputy Secretary and Chairman of this committee.  “With the 2005 highway fatalities numbers being the highest since 1973, it is crucial that we continue to use every resource possible to decrease the likelihood of a deadly crossover collision.”


“Since interstates are part of the federal highway system, we must obtain approval from FHWA for the use of new devices,” said Boyd Sigler, Highway Safety Operations Manager.  “Receiving approval at this time will allow us to move forward with these projects during the upcoming construction season.”


While other states have installed a three cable system on interstates, the Federal Highway Administration has approved the Transportation Cabinet to utilize a four cable product, Brifen Wire Rope Safety Fence, manufactured by BrifenUSA. The locations on I-64 and I-71 were chosen based on accident history and on-site engineering review.  The engineering review indicated the medians on these two sections are only 40 feet in width. 


A review of median crossover crashes on interstates in Jefferson County indicated these areas had higher numbers of crossover crashes than other interstate areas.  Once this cable barrier system has been evaluated in place, further installations will be considered for other locations across the state.