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As residents of Breathitt, Estill and Lee Counties prepare for the annual 50-Mile Yard Sale along KY 52 on Friday and Saturday, July 3-4, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is urging motorists to use caution during the event.

The 2020 event is being held as scheduled, and organizers expect more visitors than usual this year as Kentuckians look to get back to their normal routines following several weeks of restricted activities due to concerns regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“These corridor-long yard sale events are highly anticipated events in Kentucky,” said Corbett Caudill, chief engineer for the Department of Highways District 10, which includes the three counties involved. “This particular yard sale is one of the oldest established ones in the state, and continues to grow in popularity. We want to make sure that everyone who attends uses caution to prevent a tragedy.”

“A number of visitors from outside the region come to these three counties. They are not familiar with the curves and hills along this rural road,” Caudill continued. “Driver unfamiliarity and the potential for distraction are two reasons we stress caution during this event.”

The yard sale stretches from the intersection of KY 52 and KY 30 just outside Jackson, through downtown Beattyville, Ravenna, and Irvine to the Estill/Madison county line. A number of vendors also set up along the short stretch of KY 30 between Jackson and the KY 52 intersection. Message boards will be in place to remind drivers of heavy traffic, and to watch for pedestrians and slowed or stopped traffic.

The Transportation Cabinet offers the following tips for those who will be attending the KY 52 yard sale, as well as for other motorists who will be traveling in the area during the Independence Day holiday period:

  • Watch for parked cars, slowed traffic and vehicles turning into or out of side roads and driveways.
  • Park a safe distance from the highway, preferably outside a 30-foot “recovery zone” extending from the white line on the pavement edge. This area gives motorists plenty of room in which to maneuver in case of trouble. Parking on the shoulder of the road is discouraged.
  • Keep an eye out for pedestrians crossing the road, and especially for children or pets in the area of yard sales. Personnel may be directing traffic at some of the busier locations, so watch for them and obey their signals.
  • Use seat belts, obey posted speed limits and other traffic laws, and refrain from drinking and driving. Law enforcement agencies typically step up traffic enforcement during the Independence Day holiday period.

State law (KRS 177.106) prohibits encroachments on state right of way without a permit, and this includes roadside sales.

“The statute forbids anything that interferes with ‘the safe, convenient and continuous use’ of the highway, and the Transportation Cabinet considers roadside sales on state right of way to fall under this category,” Caudill said. “We want to make sure that the traveling public has the proper amount of sight distance for intersections, driveway entrances and curves. Vendors who set up their sales on the right of way can cause visibility problems, as can motorists who park along the shoulders of the road. Therefore, in the interests of safety, we ask that no sales take place on the right of way in accordance with state law.”

“Highway safety is our primary focus when dealing with events that generate large amounts of traffic. We hope everyone will wear their seat belts and be on the lookout for bargain hunters who will be on the road and on foot along the yard sale route,” Caudill said.

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