'Most road work deaths in cars' and other news from the Chattanooga region

'Most road work deaths in cars' and other news from the Chattanooga region

January 22nd, 2013 by Staff Reports and Wire Service in Local Regional News

Most road work deaths in cars

NASHVILLE - Preliminary figures show nine of the 12 people killed in highway construction zone accidents last year in Tennessee were motorists.

The other three were members of construction crews who were working on roads.

Tennessee Department of Transportation spokeswoman B.J. Doughty told The Tennessean the department wants to ensure the safety of highway workers, but the reality is that construction zones can be more dangerous for drivers.

Doughty said barriers help protect the workers, and most construction equipment is larger and heavier than cars and often fares better than cars in collisions.

Landslide cost estimate coming

CHEROKEE, N.C. - Federal highway officials may have both a cost estimate and a repair timeline this week for the section of U.S. Highway 441 here destroyed in a landslide.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported engineers with the Federal Highway Administration continued their assessment Sunday of the highway, which goes through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As the link between Cherokee, N.C., and Gatlinburg, Tenn., it carries more than 2 million visitors annually.

Charles Sellars of the National Park Service said engineers may be done this week.

Officials estimated 90,000 cubic yards of mud, rock and trees slid down a steep slope during the Wednesday morning landslide.

State property database eyed

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - An Alabama state lawmaker has pre-filed legislation that would require the state auditor to keep a searchable public database listing any piece of personal property owned by the state and valued at $500 or more.

Homewood Republican Rep. Paul Demarco said Monday that he is sponsoring the legislation in an attempt to bring more transparency and accountability to government.

The public would be able to search by department or agency name, the county where the property is located, a description of the property and the date it was entered into inventory.

Liquor vote March 14

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. - Sevier County election officials have set a revote on liquor by the drink in Pigeon Forge for March 14.

After the Nov. 6 election, it appeared voters in the city had narrowly approved a proposal to allow restaurants to sell alcohol, but a Sevier County judge ruled last week a new election was required after it was discovered that about 300 ineligible voters cast ballots.