Sometime late in the morning, a giant beech tree fell across the roadway between Bobs Creek and Cawood, completely blocking both lanes and damaging part of the guardrail.
One by one, vehicles came around the curve to find the fallen tree, some screeching to a stop. Kentucky State Police were notified by several callers about the tree, which in turn notified the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's office.
Transportation Cabinet employees Herman Dunson and Brent Johnson arrived around noon, cutting the tree into smaller more manageable pieces. Later, Greg Nolan, another Transportation Cabinet employee, arrived with a loader and quickly moved the pieces out of the road.
The tree appeared to be rotted at the base.
"I'm glad nobody was hurt," Johnson said, adding that it's fortunate that the new U.S. 421 was opened so that commuters have an alternate route.
To Kenton Fee, a resident of Smith, there is a bigger problem. He travels this road regularly since there is no access ramp onto the new U.S. 421 from Smith. To access the new road, he must use one of the exits past Lenarue or Cawood.
"I'm not traveling south to go north," Fee said.
Fee drives north on the old road to Lenarue to access the new road.
"Trees fall, there's rock slides, cliff's dribbling rocks," he said. "It's the most unsafe, treacherous place there is."
He would like to see an exit in Cawood near the intersection of U.S. 421 and KY 987, which connects to Martins Fork Lake.
"It's the only road that goes anywhere," he added.