Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Interstate 75 In Kentucky Camper Trailer rolls

Note: Kentucky does not require safety chains on their trailers.

It is called the Hump and Bump when your vehicle hits a pot hole
your vehicle goes down..........

The trailer hitch is just behind the bumper... the space between the cars tires and the
trailer tires is called the "Danger Zone"

As the vehicle hits the pot hole and goes down the hitch if not properly connected does not
go down with the vehicle.. it come off the hitch.

Then the wheels of the trailer hits the pot hole and the trailer becomes a missile or causes the towing vehicle to loose control.


Published: June 15, 2009 09:26 am

Interstate 75 in Whitley County could receive repairs

By Adam Sulfridge For The Times-Tribune

Those who commute between Williamsburg’s Exit 11 or 15 and Corbin’s Exit 25 know all too well the location of every bump, break, or crater in the pavement. Sometimes, the well attuned driver can avoid such trouble spots, and sometimes you’re left shaken and gazing into the rearview, hoping and praying a piece of your vehicle’s suspension is not laying on the highway.

Such has been the norm for anybody traveling Whitley County’s section of I-75, as 40 years of heavy traffic and weather-related expansions and contractions of the pavement have taken their toll on one of America’s most traveled interstates. And though a majority of Kentucky’s I-75 has been repaved, widened, and made safer through the installation of cable or concrete dividers, Whitley County’s section is still only four lanes, cut in half by a grass-covered, concave median, just as it was when construction on the interstate finished in the late 1960’s. In fact, much of the roadway, with the exception of a few patched areas, is still the original concrete.

“It’s rough. It’s bumpy, and it’s uneven,” explained Whitley County Ambulance Service member Brandon Woods.

More directly: it’s old and unsafe.

Thursday’s cover of the Times-Tribune featured a photograph of a tractor trailer which lost control and entered the median, just north of Exit 15. That incident is the third accident of its type to appear in local news within the last three months. On May 19, a semi carrying tombstones crossed the median near the 14 mile marker and struck another truck before bursting into flames, and before that, a pickup truck pulling a large camper lost control and rolled multiple times in the median, just south of the 14. Both of those accidents were fatal, and all of these accidents raise concerns about public safety.

While millions of dollars have been lavished on roadways in other portions of the Commonwealth, basic maintenance seems hard to come by for this southern section of the interstate, forcing motorists into a game of chance each time they attempt to traverse the neglected roadway between Williamsburg and Corbin.

When asked if the breaks and bumps on I-75 increase a motorist’s risk of wrecking, Woods plainly said, “Oh yeah. Every accident seems like it’s between the 14...and the 18 mile marker.”

“I’d hate to say that [the road condition causes accidents] but maybe. It is in terrible condition.” admitted Quentin Smith, Engineer Supervisor for Knox and Whitley counties. Likewise, Mike Calebs, Executive Director of Kentucky’s Department of Highway’s District 11 office based in Manchester, said, “We couldn’t determine if the [road] condition leads to any accidents…but the pavement condition there…is one of the poorest on I-75 in Kentucky.”

There may be hope around the bend, though, for Whitley County’s hazardous section of 75. Smith, who didn’t hide his concern for public safety or disappointment for the roadways deplorable condition, detailed his office’s efforts to rehabilitate the most dangerous section, beginning at the 11 and ending around the 20 mile marker.

He also expressed optimism for the pending proposal and described its chances of receiving support as “pretty good,” adding, “It’s been received well in Frankfort.”

If the rehabilitation project is approved, it may provide a political boost for Governor Steve Beshear, whose previous opponents warned that the election of a Democratic governor would dramatically reduce the amount of state funds invested in this region. During Republican Ernie Fletcher’s four years as governor, Whitley County received $280 million from the state, much of which funded transportation-related projects. Smith estimates that work could begin as soon as late August or early September if given the green light by state officials.

Also on Smith’s to-do list is a plan to install cable barriers in the median to help prevent vehicles from crossing the median and colliding with oncoming traffic. Such barriers are a common feature on most high speed roadways, but their presence stops just north of Corbin, along with the presence of extra lanes.

The proposed rehabilitation plan will continue to be monitored by the Times-Tribune until its fate is decided this July. Until then, drive safely.

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