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Transportation Officials Monitoring Breathitt County Slide on Panbowl Lake Dam


Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Department of Highways District 10 personnel are monitoring a situation on KY 15 at milepoint 17.7 in the city limits of Jackson in Breathitt County. Historic flooding in eastern Kentucky has affected the earthen dam for Panbowl Lake. The road runs across the dam that impounds Panbowl Lake.

Local emergency management personnel issued evacuation orders for residents in the affected areas — Lakeside Estates and Brewers Trailer Court — out of an abundance of caution after officials noticed reports of water running through a roughly 25 foot long “pop-out” slip beneath the embankment.

Recent heavy rains have elevated the North Fork of the Kentucky River, creating pressure that is pushing water through the dam. The Energy and Environment Cabinet has two inspectors and a dam safety supervisor on site. Sandbags will be placed along the areas that have eroded in an attempt to stop the flow of water under the highway.

“Transportation officials and representatives from partner agencies have been on the scene monitoring the situation to ensure every appropriate action is taken to keep Kentuckians safe,” said Chief District Engineer Corbett Caudill. “Transportation Cabinet geotechnical and engineering experts are en route from Frankfort to survey conditions and advise on next steps.”

The lake was impounded in the early 1960s when the current alignment of KY 15 was built.

An update and recommended detours will be provided if a closure of KY 15 is deemed necessary. If the road is closed, commercial vehicles and long-distance traffic between the Mountain Parkway at Campton and Perry and Letcher counties in southeastern Kentucky will need to use lengthy detours. Potential routes include the Hal Rogers Parkway and I-75 through Manchester, London, and Richmond; or US 119, US 23, KY 114 and the Mountain Parkway through PIkeville, Prestonsburg, and Salyersville.

Local detour routes will be available for local passenger vehicle traffic once weather conditions permit. A number of roads remain closed due to flooding.

(provided by the Kentucky Department of Highways, District 10)

Paul Hitchcock earned his Masters in Communications from Morehead State University and Bachelors in Radio-TV/Psychology from Georgetown College. A veteran broadcaster for more than 40 years and an avid fan of blues, jazz and American roots music. Hitchcock has been with WMKY since 1986 and was named General Manager in 2003. He currently hosts "Muddy Bottom Blues" (Fri., 8pm-9pm), "Nothin' But The Blues" (Sat., 8pm-12am), "Sunday Night Jazz Showcase" and "Live From The Jazz Lounge" (Sun., 8pm-9pm) and "The Golden Age of Radio" (Sun., 2pm-3pm). He also serves as producer for "A Time For Tales" and "The Reader's Notebook."
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