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Weather & travel Hotline

As you hit the roads for your summer vacation, a new phone number from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will give you information to plan your route, get current weather reports, and learn about delays, accidents, and construction.

The new three-digit number is 511.

The number was established in 1999 by the Federal Communications Commission as the national traffic and travel information dialing code. Kentucky’s Public Service Commission designated the Transportation Cabinet as the agency to implement the service for the Commonwealth.

The free calls are available from landline or cell phones; however, roaming and airtime charges on wireless calls may be charged. While the 511 number can only be dialed from within the state, the same Kentucky information can be accessed from other states by dialing 1-866-737-3767 (that number might also need to be used to get through some switchboards that block three-digit phone numbers). The 511 information is also available on the Internet at

The interactive voice recognition technology allows callers to request specific information on 2,800 miles of interstates, parkways, and major routes throughout Kentucky.

The system reports wrecks, construction areas, road closures, and weather conditions. The 511 information is updated every five minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week by transportation employees, vehicle enforcement officers, and the Kentucky State Police.

Snakes on the Web

The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service has launched a Web site featuring color pictures of every snake known to exist in Kentucky.

“We wanted to get across the message that anyone can identify snakes,” says Tom Barnes, UK wildlife management specialist and wildlife photographer.

Barnes says there are seven key things to observe when trying to identify a snake: length, body shape, head and neck shape, color and pattern, scale texture, eye pupil shape, and anal plate division.

When viewers choose a snake on the Web site, they can zoom in to see a bigger picture of the snake or to see its head detail. Along with a detailed description of each, there is a picture of Kentucky with color-shaded areas indicating the most common regions where the snake can be found.

The Internet address for the Kentucky Snake Identification Web site is

—Aimee D. Heald, University of Kentucky Extension Service

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