House endorses highway barriers

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Resolution gains unanimous support

By Marty Finley



FRANKFORT — The resolution introduced by state Rep. Tim Moore, R-Elizabethtown, during the General Assembly’s special session did not linger long. The House unanimously approved the call for cable barriers in highway medians.

House Resolution 5, which urges the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to install cable median barriers along many of Kentucky’s roadways, passed 94-0 on Wednesday. All 94 legislators also signed on as co-sponsors.

Moore said passage of the resolution is “beautiful” because it shows the legislature strongly backs implementation of cable median barriers. The legislature will send its resolution to Transportation Secretary Joe Prather, the state commissioner of highways and the director of the Kentucky office of the Federal Highway Administration.

Although the resolution does not carry the force of law, Moore said he expects it to be considered carefully by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. As the agency spends money on a discretionary basis, he believes the cabinet will make the barriers a priority and honor the wishes of the legislators.

He also said the resolution eventually will be presented as a bill once the roadways plan is more stable and the legislature will appropriate a set amount of money to the project.

The request was unusual during a special session, but Moore said it is an issue that is close to the hearts of a lot of people throughout the state.

After the vote, one of the first people Moore contacted was Elizabethtown resident Dave Lawson, who inspired Moore’s decision to pursue the resolution. Moore said the support for median barriers has grown rapidly, but the process began with Lawson’s work after the deaths of his wife and daughter on Interstate 65.

Moore said Lawson will save countless lives through his work and he wanted to thank Lawson personally on behalf of those people.

“It just proves that one man’s effort can change something,” Moore said.

Lawson said Wednesday he was overwhelmed by the unanimous approval of the resolution and was trying to digest the news. Despite the credit he has received, they would be nowhere near this point if the House of Representatives hadn’t been so supportive, he said.

“I’m getting an awful lot of credit for doing something that took a few hundred people,” Lawson said.

He said the resolution boosted his confidence that a bill could be passed and barriers installed.

“I don’t think any of us expected it to get this far this quick,” he said.

Lawson got involved after his wife, Myra, and daughter, Cassie, were killed in a crossover crash March 19 in Hart County. Three members of a  Logan County family also died in the wreck. Cassie’s twin sister, Jennifer, was the sole survivor of the collision.

Interstate 65 has claimed at least 14 lives this year because of crossover crashes. Moore said 250 highway deaths are attributed annually to crossovers, which equates to 1 per each 200 miles of interstate highway.

Lawson said he doesn’t know where his efforts will go from here, but will look to Moore for guidance.

“If we can get this passed through this year, it’s worth every pain I’ve been through, besides losing my wife and daughter,” he said.

Lawson is not resting on his laurels. He said a lot of work remains and encourages others to get involved.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762.     ON THE WEB

Dave Lawson maintains a Web site to promote his drive for highway safety improvements. It is www.barriersnow.com.