PIKEVILLE, Ky. (KT) – A highway work zone in eastern Kentucky was vandalized early Monday morning, officials said.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Highway District 12 spokesperson Sara George told the News-Express that numerous barrels and road cones were displaced along U.S. 23 at Shelby Valley in Pike County at some point between 3:15 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. Monday. George also said that several signs were either stolen or damaged in the incident.
Kentucky State Police Post 9 spokesperson Trooper William Petry said Post 9 received reports that orange highway safety barrels were strewn about the roadway at the site of the paving project currently underway at Shelby Valley on U.S. 23 between the Penny Road intersection and the North Robinson Creek intersection. Petry said Post 9 notified the District 12 office, which dispatched a representative to the area. There, according to George, the vandalism was found.
The equipment damaged or stolen in the incident was the property of Mountain Enterprises, the contractor which is carrying out the paving project.
George said a witness reported to Highway District 12 that a single vehicle carried out the act of vandalism in the work zone. George said the vehicle drove into or over nearly all of the barrels in the work zone. She said nearly all of the road cones in the work zone were displaced or stolen, and several road signs warning drivers of the road work in progress were stolen. She said what signs couldn’t be stolen were intentionally damaged.
“There was not one barrel or cone that wasn’t run over or taken,” George said. “Basically because of what happened, Mountain Enterprises didn’t have anything left to work with up there.”
George said Highway District 12 loaned equipment to Mountain Enterprises in order to allow the company to secure the work zone and resume work Monday morning. She said once the equipment — barrels, road cones and road construction signage — arrived, the work zone was secure within about an hour.
George said that, fortunately, there were no traffic accidents as a result of the vandalism.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact the Highway District 12 offices in Pikeville, at, (606) 433-7791.