IVEL – Intermittent traffic stops in the US 23 work zone at Ivel started on Wednesday morning as long-term repair work in the slide-prone area enters its final phases.
A crew from GeoStabilization International (GSI) is scaling the rock face to work out all remaining loose material. Motorists may see people rappelling the hillside along the work zone. When this part of the work is under way, traffic will be stopped in both directions for brief periods of time.
This phase should be finished by Sunday, August 28.
In preparation for the final phase, some time over the next three weeks traffic will return to two southbound lanes and one northbound lane.
“Barriers have to be moved,” said Darold Slone, project manager and engineering branch manager for Highway District 12. “We also have to remove the temporary stripes along the roadway and re-stripe the lanes to conform to the new traffic pattern. Once this is accomplished, we can put traffic back to two southbound lanes and one northbound lane. The outside northbound lane will remain closed until the final phase of work is finished.”
A change in signs and the use of flaggers will help motorists determine when the southbound lanes have returned to normal and when northbound traffic returns to the northbound passing lane.
The final phase involves construction of a rockfall barrier fence along the second bench above the roadway. This fencing will be similar to that along US 23 South in Pike County near the southern city limits.
From the fence line to the ditchline that runs alongside the highway, a mesh barrier will be installed. This is designed to catch any material or big rocks and boulders that might break through the fence. The mesh barrier will prevent splattering and bouncing because it will reduce the energy level of the loose material.
“This will complete the long-term fix for this section of US 23,” Slone said. “We want to caution people that the speed limit in the work zone remains at 45 miles per hour until all the work is completed. Even when both southbound lanes are returned to southbound traffic, the speed limit will still be 45. Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement, Kentucky State Police, and the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department are prepared to enforce this speed limit, which is important for the safety of everyone driving through the area as well as those working on the project.”