The Kentucky State Police (KSP) and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) are warning truckers to steer clear of shortcuts on rural roads — especially KY 286 in Ballard County.
On Monday, October 9, KYTC issued a statement to long-haul truck drivers to ask them to “stay on routes that have been established as appropriate for the weight and size of their vehicles.”
KSP has increased enforcement in Mayfield due to an uptick in commercial vehicles on rural roads, but officials say that it is a problem throughout the state.
“This is a recurring issue as drivers try to save on time and fuel,” District 1 Chief District Engineer Kyle Poat said. “But our rural secondary roads were not built for regular through-travel by vehicles of such size and weight.”
Officials named KY 286 as a road that truckers use frequently even though they are restricted. The highway forms a “cut-through” between Wickliffe and Paducah. KYTC says that over the last three years, there have been 119 crashes, 40 injury crashes, and 5 fatality crashes along just over 16 miles of KY 286. Of those crashes, 30 reportedly involved a commercial vehicle.
Truckers should use U.S. 60 instead of KY 286, according to KYTC.
In order to keep trucks away, “NO TRUCK” signs have been installed at each end of KY 286 and at state highway intersections. Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (CVE) officers have also increased patrols and issued “numerous citations” along KY 286.
“The signs will help with enforcement efforts as additional cases come up in district court,” CVE Officer Mark Townsend said. “The legal responsibility falls on the CDL-carrying professional driver. The driver is required to follow a route that keeps the truck on the National Truck Network.”
Officials are also pointing to commercial vehicle drivers using passenger vehicle GPS map apps as a reason that more truckers are entering restricted roads. Truckers are asked to use navigational tools specifically designed for commercial vehicle drivers.
Poat says that truckers using passenger vehicle mapping devices often end up on U.S. 45 Ohio River “Brookport” Bridge, which is restricted for trucks, or they strike hit a low railroad overpass in Hickman County along KY 307 north of KY 94, despite numerous warning signs.