Kentucky receives federal grant to help prevent wrong-way crashes on interstates

Kentucky receives federal grant to help prevent wrong-way crashes on interstates
Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 9:22 AM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has received $5.14 million in federal funds to prevent wrong-way crashes.

Between 2015 and 2020, there were 88 wrong-way driving crashes in Kentucky where a driver used an off-ramp in the wrong direction. These 88 crashes resulted in 16 fatalities and 27 serious injuries.

“Wrong-way driving is a major safety challenge, not only in Kentucky, but also throughout the United States,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “These funds will allow us to use innovative video technology to help monitor and bolster safety on corridors prone to these types of incidents.”

Kentucky’s Wrong Way Driving and Integrated Safety Technology System will use cutting-edge computing and video processing to implement a pilot program aimed at detecting and deterring wrong-way incidents by alerting the wrong-way driver, other drivers and emergency responders. Additionally, the system will improve existing intelligent transportation systems to monitor and detect other safety concerns related to pedestrians, debris and halted vehicles on the roadway.

“Improving highway safety is a core focus of the Transportation Cabinet,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray. “These funds will allow the KYTC to utilize the latest in technological advancements to help prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities on our roadways.”

Plans for the Wrong Way Driving and Integrated Safety Technology system consist of four elements:

  1. Detection System - Identifies wrong-way incidents and other safety concerns in real-time
  2. Deterrent System - Activates warnings designed to discourage the wrong-way drivers
  3. Alert System - Notifies correct direction travelers and emergency responders
  4. Mainline Monitoring System – Identifies mainline safety concerns (pedestrians, debris, disabled vehicles, etc.)

Existing digital and roadway signage will be integrated into a comprehensive system that will include additional signs, cameras, sensors, and other equipment purchased with the grant funds. Locations will be identified based on crash history and ramp design on Interstate ramps in Fayette and Jefferson counties as most wrong-way crashes occur in these areas, with the potential to expand to other counties throughout the state.

“Roadway infrastructure improvements are part of a comprehensive effort to curb these tragic events,” said Secretary Gray. “In addition to implementing this new technological system, we’ll continue researching statewide opportunities to address wrong-way crashes, such as striping and signage. While our existing signage and markings meet federal requirements, we’re looking at how to enhance visibility and uniformity at every off-ramp.”