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Push on to illuminate dangerous roadway

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Working on Kentucky 313’s dark corridor

By Marty Finley

Following the January death of a 23-year-old Lebanon Junction man, Hardin County Chief Deputy Coroner Kenneth Spangenberger is pushing for streetlights to be installed along the stretch of road where the man was struck.

Spangenberger said he has worked at least five fatalities on a small stretch of Ky. 313 that runs near its intersections with Dixie Highway and South Boundary Road to near its intersection with Shepherdsville Road.

“It is darker than a stack of black cats,” Spangenberger said of the road.

He worked the death of David Vittitoe in late January and said he had to use lighting equipment to examine the scene because there are no street lights along that segment of the corridor.

Vittitoe was struck by a vehicle while trying to direct traffic around an inoperable car that struck a deer, stopping to help when he saw the vehicle collide with the animal. Authorities at the time said the collision appeared to be accidental because the driver did not see Vittitoe in the road.

Spangenberger said he believes installing a few streetlights could reduce the risk of similar tragedies in the future because motorists could see farther ahead, which would give them greater reaction time to stop or avoid a collision.

The stretch also has some dips and hills, which can create even more blind spots, he said.

“You can’t see the hand in front of your face” out there, he said.

Spangenberger took his concerns to the state, calling on Sen. Dennis Parrett, D-Elizabethtown, for aid. Parrett followed up with Patty Dunaway, chief engineer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 4 office in Elizabethtown, to ask what could be done to better illuminate the highway.

Parrett learned jurisdiction for street lighting in that area fell to Radcliff, so the senator reached out to Mayor J.J. Duvall to express his concerns. While Parrett said he is not fully aware of just how dark the road is at night, he has had enough people voice the need for streetlights to know something should be done.

If a few streetlights can lower the risk of fatalities, Parrett said it should be explored.

Spangenberger also spoke with Duvall and said he believes the safety measure will be taken care of.

“I think we could save some lives if we put three or four lights up,” he said.

Duvall said the city is working with Nolin RECC to install a streetlight on each side of the road at the intersection of Ky. 313 and South Boundary Road to provide better visibility at night. Duvall said Nolin needs to run lines to the intersection but has told the city it is feasible.

City Engineer Toby Spalding plans to meet with Nolin  officials soon to discuss the project further, he said.

The city may have some associated costs tied to the installation of the two lights and will likely pay $35 per month per streetlight, according to Duvall.

“Anything we can do to make that area safer, we’re gonna do,” he said.

Marty Finley can be reached at 270-505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.