Final bridge underway on the Morgan County segment of the Mountain Parkway Expansion

As crews work to continue construction on the Mountain Parkway through the autumn months, the team is preparing to begin construction on the final bridge being built in Morgan County before the segment will be completed in 2021.

Building bridges has been a primary component of the construction on the Morgan County segment, which includes 17 bridges total that have been constructed in the past four years. The team is currently working to tear down the existing KY 134-E bridge, and in the weeks to come, will begin to construct a new bridge in its place.

“Our team has been hard at work for the past four years, expanding the Parkway to four lanes and improving two main interchanges in Morgan County; building wider, safer bridges to support those interchanges has been a central part of that work,” says Marshall Carrier, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s project manager for the Mountain Parkway Expansion. “Once the team begins construction on this final bridge in the weeks to come, we’ll be one step closer to completing this segment of the Parkway.”

The Morgan County segment stretches from the Lee City/West Liberty interchange, near Helechawa (Exit 57), to just west of the Cutino-Hager Road overpass. This segment of the Mountain Parkway Expansion began construction in January 2017 and was the third segment of the Parkway to go under construction.

The planned improvements for this segment included:

  • Widening the Parkway to four lanes between mile points 56 and 65
  • Improving and modernizing the Lee City/West Liberty interchange (Exit 57)
  • Increasing access to the Parkway from the KY 134 interchange (Exit 60)
  • Reconstructing and eliminating an “S” curve near the Morgan/Magoffin county line

In addition to constructing the final bridge in the months to come, crews will continue excavation near the Morgan-Magoffin County line with plans to complete the last of the excavation on this segment before winter, weather permitting.

“The Morgan County segment will be the third segment of the Parkway to be completed under the Parkway Expansion,” says Carrier. “Once this segment is finished, that will mark half of the Parkway Expansion being formally completed. This progress means a lot to our Eastern Kentucky communities.”

The Mountain Parkway Expansion aims to create safer roads, and to build a better connection between Central and Eastern Kentucky—making it easier for Eastern Kentucky communities to access resources located in other parts of the state.

“The Mountain Parkway is currently the only gap in a 400-mile, four lane, high-speed corridor that carries drivers across the Commonwealth,” says Carrier. “Closing the gap and expanding this corridor is an investment in the future economic development of Eastern Kentucky that will open the door for growth in tourism, as well as shipping and manufacturing industries in the region. Completing the Morgan County segment brings us closer to that goal.”

The anticipated completion date for the Morgan County segment of the Parkway is summer 2021.

— Chelsea Spring

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