Lower speed limit, new warning signs on US 231 | News
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet plans to reduce the speed limit on a section of U.S. 231 in Ohio County and add signs that warn of a congested area. The changes came out of a crash history review and speed studies along about a 1-mile section of U.S. 231 from just south of the KY 69 intersection to just north of the Walmart/Ohio County High School entrance.
The speed limit on a 0.4 mile section that is currently 55 miles per hour will be reduced to 45 mph. In addition, an advisory speed of 35 mph will be posted with the “Congested Area” warning signs along the busiest section of the study area.
About 12,000 vehicles travel the section of U.S. 231/Main Street in an average day where the city of Hartford and Beaver Dam adjoin. Two fatality crashes in the area over about a 3-year period prompted local officials to request a safety review and speed study.
Kevin McClearn, chief district engineer for KYTC District 2, Madisonville, said traffic engineers monitored traffic speeds on 5 different locations along the section.
“Our speed study indicated vehicles traveling through the area were mostly obeying the posted speed limit,” McClearn said. “However, the short section of 55 mile per hour speed limit between Hartford and Beaver Dam provided an opportunity for increased speeds between the KY 69 intersection and McDonald’s. We will be reducing the speed limit to 45 miles per hour in that area so it is consistent.”
KYTC District 2 Branch Manager for Engineering Support Kenny Potts said a review of the serious crashes found the common factor was a failure to yield right of way.
“Forty-five mile per hour speed limits are common in urban areas similar to the section north of the Walmart entrance. Drivers need to be aware that as the number of entrances to a roadway increase, so do the risks of vehicle conflicts,” Potts said.
Potts said lowering the speed limit and adding “Congested Area” warning signs will provide clues to motorists that they should drive with caution in the area.
“This is the most heavily traveled section of highway in Ohio County,” Potts said. “That means, as drivers, we all have to be more attentive when we are driving through this area. All it takes is a moment of inattentiveness to cause a serious crash.”
Once the speed portion of the study was completed, speed monitoring trailers were placed along the section to help reinforce the speed limit. Transportation officials have asked for additional law enforcement activity in the area.
The traffic study was requested by Ohio County Judge-Executive David Johnson, Sheriff David Thompson, State Sen. Jerry Rhoads, State Rep. Tommy Thompson and the mayors of Hartford and Beaver Dam.
“I’m pleased the Transportation Cabinet has moved very quickly to look at the safety issues in this area and take appropriate action in response to our request,” Sen. Rhoads said. This is a high-traffic area where safety has to be everyone’s priority.
The study recommendations will be reviewed by senior engineering staff in Frankfort for implementation in a few weeks. Once the changes are in place, engineers will be back in the area in a few months for some follow-up work on the traffic study.