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Not often does good arise from tragedy. But because of the dedication of one Elizabethtown man and his family, a March 19 crash that took the lives of his wife and daughter has set in motion a project that most definitely will save lives in Kentucky.
Gov. Steve Beshear announced Wednesday that 34 miles of Interstate 65 in Hardin, Bullitt, Barren and Hart counties and 10.2 miles on Gene Snyder Freeway in Jefferson County soon will be lined with cable median barriers.
Barriers that prevent crossover crashes.
Barriers that can and do spare lives.
Barriers that might have spared the lives of Myra and Cassandra Lawson of Elizabethtown and David, Madeleine and Megan McGrath of Logan County, along with 14 others in the year leading up to their fatal wreck.
In two years, cable median barriers like those to be installed on I-65 prevented 299 vehicles from crossing into oncoming traffic in Jefferson, Oldham and Fayette counties, contributing to a six-year low in Kentucky highway deaths in 2007 and a 12 percent decrease in 2008.
The state’s decision to move forward in installing barriers along more highways shows not only an awareness of statistics, but compassion for those who travel Kentucky’s roads — those who have lost loves ones due to crossover crashes and those who hope they never do. We join Transportation Secretary Joe Prather in his vision of placing barriers along all of the state’s highways and interstates that need them.
This first step, a $10.8 million investment, is money well spent, and the announcement well timed to remind travelers that accidents can and do happen, particularly during peak holiday travel times like the Fourth of July.
Thank you, Dave Lawson, for repeating your story time and again in remembrance of your wife and daughter, and in the interest of other families so that they may never experience, firsthand, your tragedy.
To the policy makers who listened, on the local level and beyond, we commend you for recognizing a need and taking quick action to make Kentucky roadways safer.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.