By Drew Roberts, Building Kentucky
A major project to expand the Mountain Parkway in eastern Kentucky reached a significant milestone as crews completed four-lane construction in Morgan Co. Gov. Andy Beshear, state legislators and transportation officials gathered along the parkway to celebrate the new eight-mile stretch, which marks the third of six segments completed as part of the overall Mountain Parkway Expansion.
“When complete, the 46-mile Mountain Parkway Expansion will be the final, finishing link creating a 400-mile-long, four-lane, high-speed corridor from Paducah to Pikeville. When I ran for Governor, I made a commitment to focus on transportation infrastructure and specifically the Mountain Parkway Expansion. Improved safety and mobility is vitally important for tourism, economic development and overall quality of life for the people who are proud to call Eastern Kentucky home.”Gov. Andy Beshear
Construction on the Mountain Parkway’s Morgan County segment, which also includes part of Wolfe and Magoffin counties, began in 2017.
The extensive work to expand the corridor from two lanes to four involved:
- Constructing new eastbound lanes
- Building 18 bridges
- Constructing diamond interchanges at exits 57 and 60
- Reconstructing an “S” curve near the Morgan/Magoffin county line
- Moving approximately 6 million cubic yards of material
Increased access to eastern Kentucky
Eastern Kentucky legislators, local officials and regional development leaders said the newest completed segment will add to the Mountain Parkway’s legacy of helping their communities grow.
“The continued effort toward expanding the Mountain Parkway is an exciting bipartisan endeavor that dates back to 2014 when Congressman Hal Rogers and then-Gov. Steve Beshear announced it. Bipartisan efforts continue today with the celebration of another milestone. I trust that the future of the Mountain Parkway project will include the celebration of bringing opportunity to the Eastern Kentucky region, as well as keeping bright young minds in, and bringing more to, our mountainous home.”Sen. Phillip Wheeler, who represents Morgan County, as well as Elliott, Lawrence, Martin and Pike counties
“This is great news for our region and the culmination of a lot of work by a number of people – from the crews who poured the concrete to the legislators who helped us get funding for it in the road plan. Now that more than half of the expansion of the Mountain Parkway is now complete or underway, we can see that work pay off for our region. Safe, reliable transportation is critical to public safety and quality of life. Our roads make it possible transport goods and people, as well as provide the access to quality healthcare and education.”Rep. Bobby McCool, who represents Morgan County, as well as Johnson and Wolfe counties
What’s next for Mountain Parkway Expansion?
The first Mountain Parkway Expansion segment, Magoffin County Central, was completed in 2018. The Salyersville/Restaurant Row segment was finished in 2019. Construction of the 4.6-mile Magoffin County West segment is ongoing.
Last year, the Beshear administration secured a $55 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to fund the fifth Mountain Parkway Expansion segment. That portion of the corridor covers 11 miles in Wolfe County.
“We’re currently finalizing right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation for the Wolfe County segment. We anticipate letting a construction contract for the Wolfe County segment by next spring.”Aric Skaggs, Mountain Parkway project manager for the KYTC
Planning continues for the sixth segment of the Mountain Parkway Expansion, which will extend the parkway approximately 14 miles from Salyersville to Prestonsburg.
For additional information about the Mountain Parkway Expansion, go to mtnparkway.com.