Wednesday February 28, 2018
Report Available at:

Contact: Rocky Moretti 202.262.0714 (cell)
Carolyn Bonifas Kelly 703.801.9212 (cell)
TRIP office 202.466.6706


Somerset, Kentucky – A series of reports released today examines the condition of Eastern Kentucky’s local roads and bridges, traffic safety and fatalities and the most pressing transportation needs. The reports, by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization, are being released this week at transportation forums in each of the state’s 12 Highway Districts.

Transportation forums were held today in Eastern Kentucky to release and discuss the findings of individualized reports for Highway District 8 (which includes Adair, Casey, Clinton, Cumberland, Lincoln, McCreary, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Russell and Wayne Counties), Highway District 10 (which includes Breathitt, Estill, Lee, Magoffin, Menifee, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Powell and Wolfe Counties), Highway District 11 (which includes Bell, Clay, Harlan, Jackson, Knox, Laurel, Leslie and Whitley Counties) and Highway District 12 (which includes Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Letcher, Martin and Pike Counties). The reports are available via the links above and include data for road and bridge conditions, lists of the most deficient bridges, fatality rates and trends, and the most pressing transportation challenges for each Highway District.

Based on results of a TRIP survey completed by members of the Kentucky Magistrates and Commissioners Association (KMCA), TRIP has calculated the share of county-maintained roads in poor, fair or good condition in each of the state’s 12 Highway Districts. The chart below details pavement conditions in each Eastern Kentucky Highway District and the share of roads that need to be resurfaced or reconstructed, as well as the share that are projected to be resurfaced or reconstructed based on current funding levels.

  Poor Fair Good Need to Be Resurfaced Resurfaced in 2017 Need to Be Reconstructed Reconstructed in 2017
District 8 22% 29% 49% 29% 3% 13% 0%
District 10 34% 34% 33% 57% 2% 26% 4%
District 11 26% 34% 41% 38% 1% 8% 0%
District 12 17% 34% 49% 38% 7% 5% 0%

“The more we delay in adequately funding our roads and bridges, the greater the decline and the greater the cost,” said Pulaski County Judge Executive Steve Kelly. “That’s why we need more investment in infrastructure now.”

“Our transportation system is crucial to everything we do in Breathitt County,” said Breathitt County Judge Executive John Lester “J.L.” Smith. “It provides safe access for our families to drive to work and school. It ships Kentucky produce, products and resources to the rest of the country and world, which creates good-paying jobs. It transports workers and students to jobs and work through public transportation.”

TRIP’s reports examine bridge conditions in each of the state’s Highway Districts, including the share of bridges in each Highway District that are structurally deficient. Bridges that are structurally deficient have significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. The reports for each Highway District include lists of the 25 most heavily traveled structurally deficient bridges and the 25 structurally deficient bridges with the lowest average rating for the condition of the deck, substructure and superstructure. The chart below details the number and share of structurally deficient bridges in each Eastern Kentucky Highway District.

  Number Structurally Deficient Share Structurally Deficient Total Bridges
District 8 61 6% 963
District 10 67 8% 862
District 11 249 21% 1,183
District 12 104 10% 1,019

“We’ve been talking for months about the fact that there is a $1 billion backlog in resurfacing and maintenance for a total of 3,700 miles of roadway,” said Juva Barber, executive director of Kentuckians for Better Transportation. “This report brings it closer to home and quantifies the real impact being felt on the roads and bridges in every corner of the Commonwealth.”

“The time to invest more in our roads and bridges is now,” said Franklin County Judge Executive Houston Wells. “Delays will drive up the costs and put us further behind our competitor states, many of which already have increased their investments in infrastructure.”

Based on data provided by the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, TRIP calculated the average number of fatalities and serious injuries from 2014 to 2016, the share of highway fatalities that were a result of a vehicle leaving the roadway, and the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles of travel (VMT) for each Highway District.

  Avg. Fatalities 2014-16 Avg. Serious Injuries 2014-16 Fatalities Involving Roadway Departure Fatality Rate per 100M VMT
District 8 54 151 48% 2.17
District 10 40 99 65% 3.13
District 11 52 192 56% 1.84
District 12 39 93 55% 1.97

We can invest more now, or we can pay a lot more later,” said Martin County Judge Executive Kelly Callaham. “Pay the price for closed bridges that school buses, commuters and emergency responders must drive miles to go around. Sacrifice lost revenue and miss out on job opportunities because our roads won’t accommodate new or expanded businesses.”

“Without greater investment at all levels of government, Kentucky’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated, hampering economic growth, safety and quality of life,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director.