PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Highway officials believe those driving on the new US 460 in Pike County are creating a huge safety concern and causing damage to a new road.
The new highway creates a much quicker route between areas towards Elkhorn City and US 23 in Pikeville. However, the road is not open to traffic and police say they are watching.
For the most part It looks like a nice new highway, but it is currently illegal to drive the stretch of road.
Lt. Jennifer Sandlin says, "It is clearly marked that it is closed. There are signs up, construction barrells, but that just wasn't enough to keep them out."
With a majority of the roadway paved, strictly for construction traffic, transportation officials say many drivers are using the unfinished highway.
Sara George, with Highway District 12 says,"People in the general public think, 'Aha we can go through there now it is a short cut you.' People tend to think they are the only ones doing that but in fact we had hundreds doing that."
So highway officials asked Kentucky State Police to have a continuous presence on the work site, where they've already written more than 100 tickets.
Lt. Sandlin says, "People are being charged with criminal trespassing third degree and any other moving violations we find when they are stopped."
Officials say they understand folks are anxious to use the new road but until it is officially open to traffic it is a huge safety risk.
"It is not striped and it's not marked. They are driving on the wrong side of the road. There's no guardrails or anything like that for highway safety on the road at this time," says Lt. Sandlin.
Not only is the road not equipped for traffic, officials say it is an active work zone.
George explains, "Many of the people they've stopped out here have been driving on the wrong side of the road. Well, what happens if you come head on with a truck hauling with hot asphalt? That could kill a person...easily."
Officials ask that drivers be patient so they can get the job done while keeping everyone safe.
District 12 officials hope to have the road completed and open to traffic some time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.