When one is tooling along the interstate at a comfortable 70-something miles per hour, seeing the orange “ROAD CONSTRUCTION 1000 FEET” signs can spark anxiety — a little or a lot — because you know what’s coming: slower speed, or oftentimes traffic at a standstill.
Generally, it’s not a big deal to slow to, say 55 mph, to protect those men and women in orange vests who are taking good care of our roads. Nobody wants to hurt anyone, or to be involved in an accident, and nobody wants a speeding ticket — especially one doubled in a work zone.
However, it is irritating to drive for sometimes many miles at that safely reduced speed only to discover that there’s no actual work being done and the notorious orange barrels are resting comfortably on the highway shoulders. When the same scenario occurs day in and day out, the lower speed limit becomes ignored by most drivers. This actually occurred this past summer on I-64’s eastbound stretch — roughly 10 miles — from about the truck weigh station to the Franklin County line.
Kentucky should mimic how other states handle off-and-on construction zones. Indiana and other states regularly use signs that say things like, “SPEED LIMIT 45 WHEN FLASHING.” When workers clear the worksite, they turn off the light, therefore turning off the construction rules.
What a concept! If the road itself has not been compromised by construction and nobody is working, the speed limit is normal.
In Kentucky, that same scenario means drivers are risking a ticket. We don’t speak for the police and they might well consider that there’s really no construction going on, but the posted limit is the posted limit — they have every right to pull you over.
This could all be solved using the Indiana method. While this certainly is not a major issue, it is a small irritation and fixing it means we’d have happier drivers. It seems a simple fix that might mean fewer road rage drivers, and that’s always a good thing.
With that rant over, we encourage all drivers to use caution and observe posted speeds in active work zones. The people out there doing a job need for you to slow down, to get off your phone, and to pay attention.