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Barrier resolution introduced

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By Marty Finley

 

By MARTY FINLEY mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com FRANKFORT — The special session called by Gov. Steve Beshear was designed to discuss a new pension plan for the state of Kentucky, but one legislator took the opportunity to advocate for safer roadways. Rep. Tim Moore, R-Elizabethtown, introduced Monday a resolution calling for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to consider installing cable median barriers less than 60 feet in width along the most dangerous highways and interstates in Kentucky. Moore believes the barriers would help curtail the number of fatal crossover crashes that occur when existing medians don’t fully separate opposing lanes of traffic. Moore said Kentucky always is spending money on paving roads and other construction projects and he believes the barriers would be a small expense that could protect lives. On average, 250 nationwide die each year in crossover crashes, according to data cited in Moore’s resolution, which averages out to one fatality for every 200 miles of interstate. Interstate 65 has claimed at least 14 lives this year because of crossover crashes between Elizabethtown and Bowling Green. The Federal Highway Administration advises installation of median barriers because they are a “proven safety technology that prevents deadly median crossover head-on collisions,” Moore’s resolution states. To further the argument, the resolution points to the state of South Carolina for proof of success. The state saw a massive reduction in crashes after cable median barriers were installed along its interstates, with only eight fatalities from crossover crashes during the three-year period after installation. The News-Enterprise reported earlier this year of success in Jefferson County, where 41 miles of cable median barriers were installed and 252 vehicles have been stopped from moving into opposing lanes of traffic on Interstates 64, 71 and 265. According to the resolution, Kentucky has cable median barriers along 52 miles of urban stretches of interstates. Moore said he credits the passion and dedication of Elizabethtown resident Dave Lawson, who has lobbied for median barriers after losing his wife and daughter in a crossover crash earlier this year. “It’s time to act,” Lawson said in April. “What I’ve seen the government do is planning and research. It’s time to quit studying and planning, and it’s time to do something.” Lawson could not be reached for comment about Moore’s resolution Tuesday. Because the legislature is meeting in special session, no new legislation can be passed and the roads budget is caught up in a court battle after Beshear vetoed the original plan. However, Moore said the legislature is not powerless. “In the midst of all that arm twisting, there is some discretion,” he said. Moore said he already has received support for the resolution and believes a number of other legislators will sign on as co-sponsors.  Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762.