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Shelby County road officials plan to close a short section of 3rd Street this morning for road improvement purposes in an area where numerous accidents have occurred, they said.
The construction will be located where 3rd Street becomes Old Mount Eden Road, in the vicinity of Elmo Head Park, stretching to the back entrance of Grove Hill Cemetery.
The work will begin at 8 a.m. and should be completed before noon, Shelby County Road Supervisor Carl Henry told magistrates at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Shelby County Fiscal Court.
Henry said that the work, which entails putting down a layer of what he called “Chinese rock,” is an effort to cut down on the number of traffic accidents that have happened there during the past several years by providing better traction.
He recalled an accident in May 2012, when a van failed to negotiate the curve and ended up almost going over the guardrail and plummeting 30 feet down a hill into Clear Creek. The vehicle was held precariously in place only by the guardrail, which his crews had to replace, and not for the first time, either, he said.
The practice of using the rock for this purpose is a new technique, he said, and is not meant to be applied to entire roadways but only to select areas, such as curves, interstate ramps, and the like, to help motorists avoid hydroplaning or skidding.
“I’ve done a lot of research on it, and I think it would work well there,” he said.
“You go in with rollers and put glue down on the road, and you scatter this real fine rock on top on it,” he said. “We won’t have to dig or anything; just put this cap on top of it. Within a half hour, it’ll be dry.”
Henry said this would be the first time his crews have used the technique but that state workers employed it earlier this year near Southville.
“On [Kentucky] forty-four, right past Salem Baptist Church, there’s an area there where they were having wreck after wreck, and so the state went in and put some down right in that curve, and there’s not been one [accident] since,” he said.
Henry said that even though he’s optimistic that the new surface will help reduce accidents in that area, he expects there will be some crashes, because the curve is nearly a 90-degree angle, and people must slow down significantly to negotiate the bend.
“This will help to a point, but most of the accidents in the curve are due to speed – that is the biggest issue,” he said. “I’ve lived in Shelby County all my life, and that has always been a problem there. We’ve got all kinds of signs and arrows out there now. You shouldn’t be going that fast when you make that bend onto the bridge, but people don’t do it, and that’s the problem.”
Zone change gets first reading
Magistrates passed the first reading for a zone change for 4 acres of property on Rockbridge Road from Agricultural to Residential. The property belongs to Tamara Bounds, who asked that the tract be rezoned so she could sell 1 acre to a neighbor. Magistrates accepted the recommendation of the Triple S Planning Commission and approved the matter based on information submitted by the commission. There was no discussion of the zone change before the vote, which was unanimous.
Also at the meeting, magistrates: