By Chelsea Spring, Building Kentucky
2020 was a year of great success for the Mountain Parkway Expansion project. In June, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) was awarded a $55 million federal INFRA grant that will help to fund what will be the fifth segment of the Mountain Parkway Expansion to go under construction—the Wolfe County segment. In doing so, the Mountain Parkway Expansion continued their mission to reduce state costs for the project while moving the Expansion project forward.
“The Mountain Parkway Expansion is an important project that will modernize a critical Kentucky route, and increase access between Eastern Kentucky communities and the rest of the state,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “The progress the Mountain Parkway team has made this year in securing federal funds, advancing a new segment of the project, and moving forward with work on two active construction sites has brought the project team closer to completing work on the Parkway, and providing an improved high-speed corridor to Kentucky drivers.”
The Morgan and Magoffin County West segments underwent significant construction over the course of 2020, with the two segments accounting for 12.8 combined miles of active construction on the Parkway.
“The Morgan and Magoffin County West segments together account for one of the largest stretches of construction our teams will work on while widening the Parkway,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray. “Our crews made great strides this year to improve ramps, build bridges, pave roads, and ultimately bring us closer to completing these two segments.
Crews are currently working on the two final bridges that will pass over KY-134 at approximately the 60.5 and the 62.3 mile markers. Teams began construction in late October on what will be the final bridge to be built on this segment of the Parkway.
In addition to ongoing bridge work, crews have completed the excavation near the Morgan-Magoffin County line, and are now paving this section of roadway, before opening it to traffic by mid-December.
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.
The anticipated completion date for this segment is Summer 2021.
Magoffin County West
The Magoffin County West segment of the Parkway runs from west of the Cutino-Hager Road overpass to west of the Middle Fork of the Licking River Bridge, covering about 4.6 miles of roadway. The planned improvements include widening the Parkway to four lanes between mile markers 65 and 69.6, making safety improvements that include eliminating a sharp curve at Kernie Hill, and adding an interchange at KY 3046 (Kernie-Ova-Seitz Road) to provide local Parkway access.
Excavation continues as the primary focus for crews on the Magoffin County West segment. Though most of this work cannot yet be seen from the Parkway, crews are actively moving materials in areas not visible from the roadway. As of Nov. 27, crews had excavated over 1.4 Million cubic yards of material on this segment.
Teams have finished constructing the fourth box culvert that is required for this section of the project. Once completed, crews will have built a total of six box culverts to aid in water flow along this section of the Parkway.
The anticipated completion date for this segment is Spring 2023.
Right of way, utility work, and relocation activities all kicked off this summer and will continue through 2021 as teams prepare this segment for construction in the coming years.
The Wolfe County segment of the Parkway will run from the end of the four-lane section on the Mountain Parkway near Campton, at mile marker 45.8, to just west of the Lee City/West Liberty interchange (KY 205), at mile marker 56.8.
The improvements to this segment will include widening the Parkway to four lanes, reconstructing the existing Campton interchange (KY 191) to allow full eastbound and westbound access to and from the Parkway, and modernizing the Hazel Green interchange (KY 1010) to improve safety and mobility.
The Wolfe County segment is scheduled to be let for construction in 2022; the anticipated completion date for this segment is 2027.
“The advances our teams made during the construction season this year will allow us to continue moving forward at a steady pace in 2021,” said Carrier. “We look forward to continuing to move the project forward and provide safer roadways for drivers across Kentucky.”