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Safety improvements coming to Millard curve

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

Lawmakers and the Transportation Department are planning changes.

A seven million dollar project is in the works to remove the sharp curve, but new signs and other improvements will start on Tuesday.

Officials say many cars drive too fast through the Millard curve.
"One of the most dangerous pieces of roadway in eastern Kentucky. There have been dozens and dozens of wrecks in that curve. there have been numerous fatalities," said State Senator Ray Jones, (D) 31st District.

Last week, a couple from Grundy, Virginia died when police say the trailer on a flat bed truck crossed the center line and hit their mini-van.

At least two wrecks involving school buses have happened in the curve.

"With the commercial vehicles and school buses, it's a recipe for disaster," said Jones.

Last year, the state legislature approved seven million dollars to get rid of the curve. It is now in the design phase.
"We are aggressively working towards getting a design," said Mary Westfall-Holbrook, Chief District Engineer for District 12.

"Until construction starts, the Transportation Cabinet needs to take every possible step to make the roadway safe," said Jones.

The Transportation Cabinet is making new signs to put up this week on both sides of the road before the curve.
"Large with more lights and signs warning people of the upcoming curve," said Westfall-Holbrook.

Transportation department officials plan to start construction at the end of the year on the project to remove the sharp curve. First, officials have to approve the design plans, acquire the right of way from private property owners, and move utilities.

"Ultimately, what we want Secretary Hancock to do is to expedite this project from design phase to construction. The longer we wait, the more likely someone is going to lose their life in the curve," said Jones.

State Senator Ray Jones is planning to meet this month with the state highway engineer to go over the project. He also wants to see rumble strips added and treatment to make the road less slippery in rain.

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