By Portia Williams
GREENUP COUNTY, Ky. — A large boulder sat on the shoulder of the road of US Route 23 in the area between the Carl Perkins and Grant bridges. Allen Blair, public information officer for Kentucky Transportation District 9, said he was not cognizant of the boulder’s location, and said District 9 crews would be dispatched to investigate the situation.
“There are rock falls occasionally, and we handle those case by case as far as removal and making sure that their is a situation that we feel we need to take care of immediately, we will do that. We take care of it from a maintenance standpoint, and remove the rock fall, and if there is anything else could cause any other potential danger on the highway we will assess that and take the appropriate action,” Blair said.
Blair said KYTC District 9 dealt with a rock fall situation in Russell, Ky., recently.
“In the Russell area we had a similar situation in which we had some rock fall, and some impending rock fall. We called in a contractor and we removed the debris or rocks that our engineers felt might fall,” he said. I cannot say specifically what will happen in this case, but obviously I would have to look at it. Our routine is to take a look at those areas, if there is a rock fall we manage the clean up, and assess the situation see if there is any remediation effort that needs to be done, or can be taken to prevent any future rock falls,” he said.
Blair said that could also include not only working on the actual right-of-way area, but also ways to prevent rocks from hitting the roadway.
“We did a cut-through operation, basically we cut the hillside back a little bit on Rt. 7 near South Shore. When we did that we also included some extra shoulder space for rock falls, so that if there were any in the future, they would not hit the road,” he said. So there are a variety of methods that we use, but essentially, this is a maintenance issue, and we will definitely take a look at it,” he said.
Concerning potholes on roadways in the KYTC District 9 area, Blair said the district is at currently tending to the potholes as well.
“This usually happens after winter. It is the salt that damages the roadways. Asphalt being what it is, is designed to give you a smooth ride, which means it is a little flexible, which means water can seep into it and that’s what occurs over time. What is our great enemy, it get’s in and freezes and thaws, and freezes and thaws and it get’s into existing cracks in highways and causes a lot of problems,” he said. After such a severe winter we’ve used a lot of salt, and there has been a lot of snow and ice on the roads, more than last year. So we are seeing quite a large number of potholes. We are shifting now into the pothole-patching arena, and that is what we have been doing this week,” he said.
Blair said KYTC District 9 crews are also preparing for possible tree falls from severe thunderstorm conditions that weather services are predicting will occur Thursday evening.
“We are waiting to see what happens tonight if the strong, windy storm comes through that the weather service is predicting. We will be ready for that too. Today is two-fold, we are working on potholes, but we are also sharpening the chainsaws, and making sure that we have equipment ready just in case we have to go and clear trees too,” Blair said.
Portia Williams can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.