I65 Barriers a Problem for Emergency Workers

By: Ashley Davidson
By: Ashley Davidson

The barrier walls separating the north and south bound lanes of Interstate 65 were put up with the best of intentions, to prevent head-on collisions from happening. But when an accident does happen the walls also create a barrier between the person involved in the accident and the emergency responders.

Craig Peay is the coordinator of the Warren County Fire Departments. Peay says: "Our options are very limited. Drive down to the Simpson County line turn around and come back or drive further to the Barren County line turn around and come back."

Minutes or even seconds can be crucial when working with an accident involving injuries. Peay says on average it takes seven to nine minutes between the time they get the call at the 911 center and the time they get to the scene.

Peay says: "Now if we have to turn around and come back up you're looking at 11, 13, maybe 15 minutes, depending how far the traffic is backed up."

The only other option they have is to park their vehicle in the southbound lanes of traffic then climb this wall to do the rescue. But sometimes that's not as easy as it may seem.

Peay says: "You park your vehicle there in the fast lane. You're very unprotected. Plus when climbing over the wall back and forth there are fall hazards. Plus if another accident occurs you'll have to jump back over the wall. And that could cause injury to the person who had the accident and the first responders."

No emergency responders have been injured as a result of one of risky rescues. However those rescues are not common because they halt the flow of traffic on Interstate 65 and the state frowns on that.

WBKO asked the transportation department about the issue. They tell us this has been a problem for six years, since construction began on I-65. One of the biggest concerns is that the fire trucks and ambulances do not have any areas to cross over during a rescue. The transportation department says it has a plan in place to help emergency responders.

Keirsten Jaggers says: "We're going to put two crossovers within that 14-mile stretch. We're going to put one at mile marker 14.3 which is at KY240. Then there will be another one halfway between mile marker six and that one."

There is no timeline in place for when those crossovers will be incorporated into the construction.

WBKO 2727 Russellville Road Bowling Green, KY 42101-3976 Phone: 270-781-1313 After Hours Hotline: 270-781-6397 Fax: 270-781-1814
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