Out-of-control vehicles on steep grades have the potential for and frequently do result in severe accidents. There are two truck escape ramps in Kentucky, and both were constructed as a result of severe accidents and the potential for additional accidents.
One escape ramp is on the Hyden Spur (KY 118) in Leslie County. Because of geometric conditions of the highway and topographic constraints, an arrester-type escape ramp was designed with pea gravel as the arrester material. The beginning of the ramp is a 386-foot paved section on an 8-percent downgrade; followed by a gravel bed 520 feet long on a 4-percent downgrade. This ramp was opened for use in 1980, and it has been used four times in emergency situations.
The other escape ramp is on KY 11 leading into Beattyville in Lee County and is a combination gravity and arrester design. The ramp includes a 400-foot paved approach, followed by a 700-foot arrester bed over a 1.5-percent downgrade and then a 210-foot arrester bed over a 14-percent upgrade. There has been only one reported emergency usage of this ramp since it opened in 1980.
Overall, the escape ramps have proven to be operating properly and appear to be performing as they were designed. Of the five cases where the ramps were used by out-of-control vehicles, no one has been injured and there has been very little damage to the vehicles involved.
Digital Object Identifier
Pigman, Jerry G. and Agent, Kenneth R., "Evaluation of Truck Escape Ramps" (1985). Kentucky Transportation Center Research Report. 932.