By Genie Graf, Building Kentucky
Area residents and interested parties gathered at a public information meeting to get the latest on one of Gov. Andy Beshear’s top transportation priorities – the Magoffin County-Floyd County segment of the long-awaited Mountain Parkway Expansion project.
About 300 people attended the open-house-format meeting at Magoffin County High School in Salyersville. The project team and personnel from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) provided information about the preliminary alignment of a cross-country segment that is the preferred route for extending the parkway from Salyersville, where it currently ends, to Prestonsburg.
Meeting attendees were able to review the latest maps and exhibits and discuss the geographical challenges and unique features with project engineers and other representatives.
“Whether in-person or via phone call or email, we are grateful for the community’s input,” said KYTC engineer Aric Skaggs, P.E., the project manager. “We’ve learned by listening to those who had concerns or were just curious.”
The latest phase of the project in eastern Magoffin County and Floyd County is part of a 46-mile transformation to improve highway safety and support economic development by connecting the rest of the Commonwealth to the Appalachian region. The preferred option of extending the parkway to Prestonsburg by cutting a new cross-country corridor would cause fewer disruptions and property impacts to homes and businesses than would expanding the parkway along the current KY 114 corridor.
To advance this final segment of the Mountain Parkway Expansion to construction, KYTC and its partners are collecting more detailed environmental and geotechnical information on the preferred cross-country corridor. This includes crews performing surveys, archaeological and historical studies, and biological research. KYTC is working closely with the Federal Highway Administration to follow the process prescribed by the National Environmental Policy Act and other federal laws and policies.
“This is a vital project we think will make a vibrant contribution to the region,” Skaggs said. “The overall positive feedback we’ve received from completed Mountain Parkway Expansion segments are that, from aesthetics to highway safety, we’re on the right track.”
KYTC will accept written statements through March 7. Residents can send their statements to the KYTC District 10 office — P.O. Box 621, Jackson, Ky. 41339. Residents can also email Aric Skaggs at Aric.Skaggs@ky.com.
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 from Pikeville to Paducah. The project involves widening 32 miles of the existing parkway to four lanes and extending the parkway by about 13 miles between Salyersville and Prestonsburg.
For additional information, go to www.mtnparkway.com. Project updates may also be found on Facebook (www.facebook.com/mtnparkway) and Twitter (@MtnParkway).