The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is advising motorists to be alert for deer attempting to cross US 41 near Audubon State Park at Henderson.
The Ohio River at Evansville is expected to crest this weekened at about 38.8 feet. When the river reaches about 40 feet at Evansivlle, deer that normally pass safely under the US 41 Twin Bridges are cut off by the rising floodwaters. That causes deer to congregate along US 41 in the Audubon State Park area. When the herd reaches sufficient numbers the deer start attempting to cross through 4 lanes of traffic on US 41 damaging dozens of vehicles and leaving dozens of dead deer along the highway.
Kentucky highway personnel plan to place variable message boards along the US 41 Henderson Strip by late this afternoon with a flashing “Caution- Deer Crossing Highway” alert for motorists.
The main threat is along about a 1-mile section of US 41 near the 18 mile marker, generally between the Audubon State Park entrance and the Stratman Road/Wolf Hills Road intersection at the south end of the US 41Twin Bridges.
With additional rain in the forecast for Thursday, highway engineers are placing the message boards today in anticipation that deer could be forced out of their normal travel path through the river bottoms sometime Friday or Saturday.
In years past, Kentucky State Police, Henderson Police Department and Henderson County Deputies have blocked traffic for short periods from time to time to allow herds of deer to cross the busy highway safely.
Approximately 38,000 vehicles travel US 41 near the Audubon State Park entrance each day, making it one of the busiest roadways in Western Kentucky.
Motorists are advised to be alert for deer attempting to cross the highway until floodwaters drop sufficiently to allow deer to return to their normal trail system underneath the Twin Bridges.