In Oct. 2-8 Issue
The temporary barriers are still up in the rock-fall area at the southern end of Wolf Creek Dam.
They were erected in January this year after a rock-fall that sent large pieces of the cliff face rolling into the road.
"Nobody bid on the project so right now it is on hold," said Bruce Nealy.
Nealy, the head of maintenance for the state transportation cabinet in this district, said the project is still planned, but there will have to be another round of bidding.
The District Engineer Neal Shoemaker said this sort of thing happens to them on occasion, but they will be contacting some specialists in this type of work to make sure they are aware of the bid letting this time.
"There is a lot of expertise necessary and a lot of liability on this project," he said in explaining the lack of interest in the previous round of bids.
By specialists, Shoemaker said he was referring in this case to contractors who could horizontally bore the cliff face and then inject material to force off the loose stone.
"It's a non-blasting method," Shoemaker clarified.
He said the US Army Corps of Engineers were more in favor of that type of procedure, since the cliff face in question is the structure that the southern end of the dam is anchored to.
Thomas Hale, operations manager for the Corps project on Lake Cumberland said they were not ruling out blasting but it was not their preferred method for removing the rocks overhanging US-127.
He added that the Corps fully supports the state's efforts to make the road safer, and they would look at any proposal the state had for blasting if necessary.
In the meantime the state has looked at other means to keep wayward slabs of limestone from smashing into cars at the dam.
Shoemaker said they had looked into the fencing, or wire netting like what is used along some road-cuts in the Smokey Mountains.
He said those systems aren't ment to hold rock in place, but rather to make it stay out of the road when it did fall, and the product's manufacturer came to examine this project.
"They went out and looked at it and came back and told us they didn't think their product would work in this situation," Shoemaker said.
He said they are bidding the job based on the use of an expanding product that could be forced into the rock and would push it free of the face.
He said they would be moving the cliff face back as much as 10 feet, especially in the area that is overhung by rock now.
"We've had geologists and geotechnical people out to look at the situation," Shoemaker added. "They pretty much all said there is a very definite crack back there that would shear off."
That is, he said, exactly what they are looking to force, under controlled circumstances.
He added that he isn't sure when the project will be re-advertised for bid.