Last year marked the start of a transformational transportation project for residents and businesses in Eastern Kentucky, with implications for the entire state and beyond.
In 2015, construction began on the Mountain Parkway Expansion, a project that aims to widen the 30-mile stretch of the parkway from Campton to Salyersville and extend the roadway by another 16 miles, to Prestonsburg. The road is expected to improve safety, ease travel and open Kentucky’s Appalachian region to new economic development opportunities.
In just a year, the landscape has been altered considerably, with the project’s impact already being felt.
“More than one-third of the Mountain Parkway Expansion is either under construction or approaching construction,” said Marshall Carrier, a Kentucky Transportation Cabinet engineer who is the project manager for the Mountain Parkway Expansion.
“We moved quickly to start work in the first construction segments and made important progress in areas where we still are in the planning phase. The past year reinforced our confidence that we can make even greater progress in 2016 to advance this important project,” added Carrier.
2015 Mountain Parkway Expansion Highlights
Construction is taking place on three major segments of the expansion, and, in November, motorists were already able to drive on one area of the new roadway. Meanwhile, workers are gearing up for a busy 2016, with work along Salyersville’s Restaurant Row to begin and planning for other sections of the expansion taking place.
Here are just a few project highlights from the past year:
Mountain Parkway project office opened to provide public with latest information;
Construction began on key phase of expansion at Gifford Road interchange, which will provide new access to and from the parkway and will serve a planned industrial park to the north of the interchange;
First Mountain Parkway extension was announced and is expected to begin in 2016 along Salyersville’s Restaurant Row; segment ahead of schedule due to $24 million federal TIGER grant;
Hundreds of local residents attended public meetings in an effort to determine viable alternatives to extend Mountain Parkway from Salyersville to Prestonsburg (KY 114 Segment);
Preliminary design work was completed and path selected to expand parkway along 11-mile section in Wolfe County;
Former Gov. Steve Beshear, Congressman Hal Rogers and Jared Arnett, executive director of SOAR (Shaping Our Appalachian Region), visited Magoffin County to view progress;
One bridge was completed and two others begun to support expanded parkway;
First cars drove on new Mountain Parkway pavement;
Construction began on three major segments of the expansion, with more than one-third of the overall expansion under construction or approaching shovel-ready status.
The Mountain Parkway Expansion is a 46-mile transportation improvement project that will create a wider, safer connection between Eastern Kentucky and the rest of the Commonwealth. It is a key transportation project designed to close the only gap in a 400-mile, four-lane, high-speed corridor for commerce and mobility across Kentucky from Pikeville to Paducah.
The project will widen 30 miles of the existing parkway from two lanes to four lanes, and will extend the parkway another 16 miles by widening KY 114 between Salyersville and Prestonsburg.
The Mountain Parkway Expansion is a key project of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) initiative. SOAR is designed to help the region develop and put into action new locally-oriented strategies to attack persistent challenges related to job training, health, education and economic development.
(story provided by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet)