WHAT WE THINK: The lights finally are coming on

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We welcome these new lights to deal with dangerous places on our roads.

Shelby County so often has appeared to be moving in the slow lane when it comes to matters of highways and byways – see the Shelbyville Bypass, if you will – that our recent giddiness about the expedited replacement for the deadly interchange at KY 55 and Interstate 64 sometimes seems like a bit of a dream.

That project is moving along quickly, right through the winter months, and we would have bet our asphalt that we wouldn’t have seen such activity in our lifetimes. We only can assume a more dedicated contractor was hired this time.

And, on top of that, we have to stop today and blow our horns at a couple of other good turns by the denizens of transportation – although we have to include at least a hoot about why these recent changes took so long and what finally saw them accomplished.

For the first, we will return to one of our favorite topics: that deadly merge ramp and acceleration lane from KY 55 onto eastbound I-64. You’ve heard our sermon, and so have our leaders, who inspired this building frenzy that is going on out there night and day in the dead of winter.

But what we have to wonder is why a light suddenly went on – literally – in the form of a blinking highway sign about halfway down that ramp toward our abbreviated merge lane, a light that actually warns people of a short merge area and oncoming traffic ahead.

We kid you not. After all these years, after accidents and deaths and near deaths and life-before-your-eyes scary moments and banging on keyboards and tables, one basic step was taken that could have helped a long time ago: illuminated words of warning to the uninitiated about the danger that lay ahead.

We congratulate those who thought this sign a good idea. We are glad to read its large, bright, letters. Perhaps those working at the intersection drove that ramp a few times and finally got the real-life and not unusual thrill of having to brake quickly or avoid being squished against the guardrail by oncoming traffic.

Yes, the light went on. And we are grateful.

Now we have a second light coming on, too, and this one also seems a bit delayed. Because it’s a light that we have heard requested from numerous members of the public since the bypass was opened in 2010: A turning-lane signal is being installed at KY 55 and KY 53, which has been the site of several accidents and one death.

A sort-of-blind left turn onto Freedom’s Way from southbound on La Grange Road long has been a touchy spot, particularly when nearby Painted Stone Elementary and West Middle School are in their bus-clogged engresse, egresse.

Perhaps it was because Shelbyville Mayor Tom Hardesty, responding to a resident’s request for more traffic controls on the bypass, sent a letter to Transportation Cabinet officials and asked them to take a look.

Perhaps, like the ramp, it was because the right person spent some drive time seeing the danger first-hand and thought it best to act.

We don’t know why this turn signal finally is being installed, but we are glad to see it. There is much cutting and slashing at that intersection daily, and we don’t doubt that, without attention, this someday again would be the killing field for a motorist, maybe even, shudder, one of those school-departing students.

We are sorry to flash our backup lights in praising these most positive decisions. They are good and noble efforts to help all motorists along some of our most traveled roads.