PIKE COUNTY – May 8, 2012 – Road work on US 460 in Pike County from Powell’s Creek to Mouthcard brings with it lane closures, long delays, and a reduced speed work zone at Pond Creek of Draffin. Similar work on KY 194 west of Kimper Elementary will necessitate one-lane traffic f or a few days there as well, according to Sara George, spokeswoman for Highway District 12 of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
George explained that high friction surface is being laid on US 460 at the Powell’s Creek curve, Goff Curve at Millard, East Ridge High School, and Post Office Curve at Mouthcard. The same type asphalt will be applied to KY 194 between mile markers 22 and 23, just west of Kimper Elementary School.
Paving will be done one location at a time. “We won’t have traffic tied up at all these sites at the sa me time,” George explained. The work will take a day or two at each location, depending on the weather. Crews plan to begin at Powell’s Creek and work eastward toward Mouthcard, then move to KY 194 at Kimper. “It takes four to five hours for this type of asphalt to dry,” George said, “and then the road has to be swept vigorously before traffic is allowed on the new surface.”
In addition, the two lanes of traffic at Pond Creek of Draffin were shifted and narrowed on Monday, May 7. This stretch of US 460 is now a reduced speed work zone. The speed limit is lowered from 55 to 45, and may be reduced even further in the coming weeks.
Each traffic lane is now 10 feet wide instead of 12. “This is a significant narrowing,” George said. “People must slow down and stay alert through this work zone. Speeding through this area is reckless and dangerous.”
George said the way the road looks at Draffin is deceiving. “It looks like a mistake, like we patched the pavement and made the lanes too skinny. To make it more confusing, there have been Road Work Ahead signs in the area for some time, but the work has been on the other side of the river. I’ve driven by those signs several times, expecting to encounter heavy equipment and yellow jackets (road workers wearing the distinctive reflective yellow shirts), and wondering myself why there were signs up and nothing going on.”
Work is definitely under way now, George emphasized, and the only way to drive safely and responsibly through the area is to drive at 45 miles an hour or slower.
The work at Draffin is related to building the Emalene Lee Bridge, a new entrance into Pond Creek. Construction of a concrete stabilization wall on the hill side of the road made it necessary to shift the lanes of traffic closer to the guardrai l and reduce the width of each lane.
A concrete barrier between the hillside and the westbound lane will protect motorists and workers while the stabilization wall is under construction. Once the wall is finished, the concrete barriers will be removed. While 1500 feet of barriers is being placed, traffic could be stopped for long periods of time in both directions. Weather permitting, work on the barriers is set to begin Wednesday, May 9, and should take several days.
“All of this is necessary to create an entrance and tie-in for the new bridge,” expla ined Paxton Weddington, D-12’s Pike Section Engineer. “In order to access the bridge, the road elevation must be lowered about 12 to 14 feet. To accomplish this, the roadway must be stabilized and a new alignment created. Although the 10-foot lanes, which were paved and striped on Monday, are temporary, in this case temporary could mean up to a year.”
Engineers and other officials at Highway District 12 urge motorists to take the reduced speed limit seriously. “We’ve already had eight traffic fatalities in Pike County this year,” George said. “Plus we’ve had several dozen serious injuries. We’re in the middle of construction and summer maintenance season, and everyone needs to slow down, pay attention t o what is happening on our highways, and be safe out there!”