The Independence Day holiday weekend means that the annual 50-Mile Yard Sale along KY 52 in Breathitt, Lee, and Estill counties is coming up. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet again reminds motorists to use caution during the event, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, July 1-2.
“The communities along the yard sale route and some of the civic organizations in these three counties are really promoting the event this year,” said Corbett Caudill, chief engineer for the Department of Highways District 10, which includes the three counties involved. “This has been a yearly event for many years now, and is well-established as more of these corridor yard sales get started. KYTC places a big emphasis on highway safety, especially during events that bring more drivers and pedestrians to the roadways, so we stress safety measures and awareness in hopes of avoiding a tragic accident.”
“Many visitors come to the yard sale from outside the region. They are not familiar with the curves and hills along our rural roads,” Caudill continued. “Driver unfamiliarity and the potential for distraction are two main reasons we always stress awareness during this event.”
The yard sale stretches from the intersection of KY 52 and KY 30 just outside Jackson, through downtown Beattyville, Ravenna, and Irvine, to the Estill/Madison county line. A number of vendors also set up along the short stretch of KY 30 between Jackson and the KY 52 intersection. Message boards will be in place to remind drivers of heavy traffic, and to watch for pedestrians and slowed or stopped traffic.
The KY 52 bridge crossing the Kentucky River in Irvine remains closed for repairs. Drivers will need to use the signed detour via KY 499 (Joseph Proctor Memorial Bypass) and KY 89 (Winchester Road/North Main Street) to bypass the closure.
The Transportation Cabinet offers the following tips for those who will be attending the KY 52 yard sale, as well as for other motorists who will be traveling in the area during the Independence Day holiday period:
- Watch for parked cars, slowed traffic and vehicles turning into or out of side roads and driveways.
- Park a safe distance from the highway, preferably outside a 30-foot “recovery zone” extending from the white line on the pavement edge. This area gives motorists plenty of room in which to maneuver in case of trouble. Parking on the shoulder of the road is discouraged.
- Keep an eye out for pedestrians crossing the road, and especially for children or pets in the area of yard sales. Personnel may be directing traffic at some of the busier locations, so watch for them and obey their signals.
- Use seat belts, obey posted speed limits and other traffic laws, and do not drink and drive. Law enforcement agencies typically step up traffic enforcement during the Independence Day holiday period.
- Pedestrians should use caution when crossing or walking near the road. Wear bright clothing to increase visibility to drivers, and always look both ways before crossing a road.
State law (KRS 177.106) prohibits encroachments on state right of way without a permit, and this includes roadside sales.
“The statute forbids anything that interferes with ‘the safe, convenient and continuous use’ of the highway, and the Transportation Cabinet considers roadside sales on state right of way to fall under this category,” Caudill said. “We want to make sure that the traveling public has the proper amount of sight distance for intersections, driveway entrances and curves. Vendors who set up their sales on the right of way can cause visibility problems, as can motorists who park along the shoulders of the road. Therefore, in the interests of safety, we ask that no sales take place on the right of way in accordance with state law.”
“Highway safety is a primary focus for us, especially when dealing with events that generate large amounts of traffic. Paying attention to these simple guidelines can help participants avoid serious injuries or even fatalities,” Caudill said. “We want people to come to our area and support the local economy, but we want them to do so safely.”