I65 Construction: Delays and Accidents

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People who frequently travel this stretch of I65 in Barren county know what it's like to have to wait.

"We had two wrecks last week I think on 65 northbound. Took me 20 min to get across the bridge the traffic was so bad," said driver Roger Batsel.

"It's almost 100 percent. Every time I leave Bowling Green headed for Louisville, which I do frequently, I run into either a traffic, a construction zone, or an accident," said driver Kenneth Lewis.

The Kentucky Department of Highways says wrecks in this area are far more difficult to clean up due to construction walls and reduced lanes.

"We have a much smaller section of roadway to work in... to maneuver in. Plus you have your emergency services vehicles and things like that. It is difficult to move things around quickly in that tight area,"

The department routed drivers to 31E last week when two accidents led to long delays, but they say that may not be the best option for many travelers.

"You're taking all that traffic off the interstate and just throwing it at Park City and Cave City on those little two lane roads, and it just can't handle all that traffic," said Kentucky Department of Highways District 3 Public Information Officer Keirsten Jaggers.

Jaggers says they're now suggesting a new route for those traveling north.

"When you come up and hit the state line at the 20, take the Natcher and go North until you hit the Western Kentucky Parkway. Then take a right to E-town, and it takes you all the way to Elizabethtown and you can hook back into I-65 at that point," said Jaggers.

The Natcher Parkway detour only adds 20 minutes to the trip according to Jaggers, and it's an option the department plans to offer for future accidents.

Jaggers says the road widening project is set to be complete in the Cave City area this fall, and construction will continue until I65 is six lanes wide all the way to Elizabethtown.

Although wrecks in that construction area can be a hassle for drivers, some area businesses see it a different way.

The increased traffic has helped business in some of the stores near Cave City, while others have seen a significant decline in visitors.

"We had people lined up at the gas pumps... two... three cars long. People in line. Usually around this time of year we're not really really busy, but we were swamped," said Jr. Foods Cashier Shirley Smith.

"When the traffic is backup up, we just don't have anybody come up. There'd be a few but not very many," said Onyx Cave owner Dan Broady.

Broady says Onyx Cave just off exit 53 will see about an 80 percent drop in visitors during long traffic delays.
And says it may be because they're all headed to the gas stations for food, drinks and gas.

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