3:45pm

Thu May 17, 2012
The Commonwealth

Welcome Center Conversation

Work to repair damage done by a massive landslide to Interstate 75 in northern Tennessee will continue through the weekend.  It’s blocked the southbound lanes of that major artery and has changed the casual conversation at Kentucky’s welcome center.  The man who supervises the Welcome Center operated by the Commonwealth just north of the state line takes a lot of questions.  But since March 8th, when a landslide partially blocked I-75, David Cox says the nature of those questions has changed.  Cox says the first question asked by many northbound motorists is ‘what’s wrong.’

They’re all very spooked at not seeing another vehicle coming down the south side for a good 20 miles…and they get out here and say what’s wr…we’re kind of aghast at that because we’re like you just drove by a giant crater in the mountain,” said Cox.

During repairs, traffic on the southbound lanes has been detoured off the interstate. Cox says the next question asked by many motorist is ‘How long will travel be impeded.’  He says for motorists returning southeast, the best alternative route is U-S 25-east.  Cox says for those heading into Alabama or Georgia, it might mean getting off I-75 at Renfro Valley and heading down U-S 27.  After questions about the construction, Welcome Center supervisor, David Cox says many motorists often ask about the weather.

"They tend to believe that we know the weather in absolutely every spot in the nation.  We try to keep track of Ohio, most of Kentucky, Indiana and all that.  They tend to believe we know what it’s gonna be like in Canada, like we check three days in advance what’s the weather’s gonna’ be,” added Cox.

Transportation officials indicate three of the four interstate lanes could re-open to traffic early next week.