By Will Wingfield, Building Kentucky
Progress continues on the Mountain Parkway Expansion this spring, with completion of the 8.2-mile Morgan County segment in sight.
Asphalt plants have reopened for the year and paving is underway on the new westbound lanes of the Mountain Parkway in Morgan County. Westbound traffic will begin using the new lanes this summer between Exit 57 in Helechawa and Hager in Magoffin County.
Crews are also completing concrete pours on the final bridge in the Morgan County segment. The new bridge began construction in October and crosses KY-134 near the 62-mile marker. Completion of the Morgan County segment is expected in late summer.
“Nearly half of the Mountain Parkway Expansion project is now completed or under construction,” said Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) project manager Aric Skaggs. “We started the Morgan County segment four years ago and have built 17 bridges. Finishing this part of the expansion project will be a significant milestone.”
Speed limits are reduced to 45 mph in construction zones. As spring construction gears up, April marks Distracted Driving Awareness Month and Work Zone Awareness Week.
“KYTC urges drivers to reduce their speed and put their phone down for the safety of both motorists and highway workers,” Skaggs said.
Magoffin County West
In western Magoffin County, construction has begun at a bridge over Johnson Creek and excavation continues to realign a sharp curve at Kernie Hill.
In this segment’s first year of construction, crews moved more than 2 million cubic yards of soil and rock, which would fill more than 200,000 standard dump trucks. To minimize environmental impacts, much of this work is occurring off the parkway, where it is not visible to traffic.
Together, the Morgan and Magoffin County West segments represent nearly 13 miles of active construction on the Mountain Parkway Expansion. The Magoffin County West Segment is expected to open to traffic in 2023.
It has been less than a year since KYTC was awarded a $55 million federal INFRA grant for the Wolfe County segment of the Mountain Parkway Expansion. Land purchases, utility coordination and environmental permitting are now well underway, with the segment on schedule for construction bids in 2022.
The Wolfe County segment will widen and improve 11 miles of Mountain Parkway, connecting existing four-lane sections between Campton and Helechawa. It will also reconfigure the KY-191 interchange in Campton and the Hazel Green exit (KY 1010).
Drivers should stay alert for a variety of workers along the Mountain Parkway in Wolfe County assessing environmental features, drainage pipes or utility lines.
About The Mountain Parkway Expansion
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. The project will widen 30 miles of the existing parkway to four lanes and extend the parkway between Salyersville and Prestonsburg.
For additional information, go to mtnparkway.com. Project updates may also be found on Facebook (facebook.com/mtnparkway) and Twitter (@MtnParkway).