Cut-in-the-Hill is a 1.3-mile (2.1 km) stretch of highway in Covington, Kentucky signed as part of both Interstate 71 and Interstate 75. It is a steep descent into the valley of the Ohio River between Kyles Lane and the Brent Spence Bridge near Cincinnati, Ohio. The hill is known for its high number of automobile accidents. In 2006 the Cut-in-the-Hill averaged over seven times more accidents when compared to similar roadways in Kentucky.
At the Cut-in-the-Hill the northbound road takes a sharp left turn into a steep grade down to the Ohio River—about 370 feet (110 m) in 4 miles (6.4 km). Accidents are usually attributed to a combination of speeding, curvy lanes, poor weather, longer stopping times for trucks traveling downhill, and traffic congestion.
|Year||Wrecks at Cut-in-the-Hill|
The area earned the sobriquet "Death Hill" shortly after Interstate 75 opened in 1962. By 1968 a total of 23 people died in crashes on the hill so a concrete wall was installed to separate northbound and southbound traffic. The wall helped reduce fatal crashes but accidents continued, and in 1977 the hill averaged 583 automobile accidents per year.
In 1986 a tractor-trailer lost control, leading to an accident that caused a Northern Kentucky University student to burn to death in his car. As a result, Governor Martha Layne Collins banned most northbound tractor-trailer traffic from the hill. From 1989 until 1994 $50-million in reconstruction was spent to straighten the hill's S-curve and add a fourth lane for southbound traffic, and in 1995 the truck ban was lifted.
In 2006 the hill and the Brent Spence Bridge saw 151 crashes in the northbound lane and 121 crashes in the southbound lane, totaling 272 in all. To help reduce the number of accidents a flashing "Steep Grade" sign was installed, and a Kentucky State Police trooper was assigned to patrol just the Cut-in-the-Hill. Additionally, eight radar speed signs were installed in 2007 to remind motorists to drive a safer speed.
The Cut-in-the-Hill was originally designed to carry up to 80,000 vehicles per day, but in 2006 it carried 155,000 daily. Kentucky officials are reportedly working to raise more than $2 billion to replace the section of highway, but as of 2012 no construction is planned.
- Smith, Steve; et al. (2007). "Around Town". Cincinnati USA City Guide. Cincinnati Magazine. p. 79. Retrieved 2013-05-06.
- "Travel Restrictions Lifted, But Officials Urge Caution". WLWT. January 27, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
- Saladin, Luke E. (January 6, 2007). "Is Cut-in-the-Hill unsafe?". Cincinnati Post. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
- "Aggressive Driving Crackdown Starts". kypost.com. October 7, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
- Eigelbach, Kevin (2007-01-31). "Is I-75 Cut plan making the grade?". Kentucky Post. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
- Saladin, Luke E. (January 11, 2007). "Why 'Cut' warning might work". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
- Rutledge, Mike (January 10, 2007). "'Cut-in-hill' wrecks pile up: 272 crashes in '06; warning will flash". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
- Kettler, Shannon (2007-09-17). "New Radar Speed Signs On Display On I-75". kypost.com. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
- Live web cam at Cut-in-the-Hill
- Additional info and a picture of Cut-in-the-Hill before it was reconstructed in the 1990s