Calloway County’s top elected official is circulating an email in jest regarding poor driving on a stretch of road that's been the source controversy over its speed limit.
Judge Executive Larry Elkin's email pits a side by side photo of snow covered Kentucky Highway 80 in Calloway County and a clear highway 80 in Trigg County.
In the email sent Wednesday afternoon, Elkins said he had received numerous calls from residents indicating the portion of KY 80 west of LBL was in horrible condition compared to other highways.
Elkins said he initially thought the callers were exaggerating until he drove out that morning and saw for himself.
"The sheriff and I drove out, and the roads in the Trigg County portions were clear, even the shoulders and crossovers in many areas were graded, and the secondary roads as far as we could see seemed to be clear," said Elkins. "I don't know if it's a difference in quality of state garages in different counties, or priorities or what, but it seems they did a lot better job than they did here."
In the email, Elkins then quipped that the roads received less attention in Calloway, perhaps due to an ongoing dispute with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet saying:
"I have no explanation for the Kentucky Department of Transportation’s efforts, or lack thereof. Some have sarcastically stated since motorists east of Cadiz can legally drive faster, it is more important they have safer clearer roads to drive on."
Elkins said the remark was meant to be sarcastic, but says he’s still upset about the speed limit inequality between the two areas.
“It was sort of tongue in cheek," said Elkins, "But it's no secret that the state secretary agreed to increase the speed limit in that section and has refused to increase it for our section of Highway 80, and we can’t get a straight answer as to why they favored them. But whether the two are related, I’ll leave that to other people to answer that question.”
KYTC Spokesman Keith Todd assures that there’s no political motivation to the clearings and that the Trigg side of US 68/80 was easier to clear because they had gotten far less ice than in Calloway county.
"They got less ice and more snow," said Todd. "There were pockets all along the Tennessee border that got a lot more ice than everybody else. Our guys are out there 14 hours a day, doing everything they can to clear roads in all the counties. I think the thing the public needs to take away from this is that if that had been snow, our guys would be able to go home and rest, but because this is ice, it is taking longer."
Todd says heavier pockets of ice also hit Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Christian counties, and that the recent salt shortage has only slowed the clearing process further.
Todd says extra trucks are being dispatched from Trigg County to Calloway today to help expedite the clearing process, but that move was a not in response to Elkins’ email.
Elkins says he's gotten calls today that crews were out late last night clearing roads in Calloway, which he says is good news.
"I'll be the first to say that this was a difficult weather situation for everybody," said Elkins. "We had ice, sleet, then snow, and state, local, cities and all had difficult time managing the event. I appreciate everyone's patience, and in a few days, when the weather warms up, this whole event will be just a bad memory."