By Chelsea Spring, Building Kentucky
One year ago, in November 2019, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) completed work on the Restaurant Row segment of the Mountain Parkway Expansion as the new roadway fully opened to traffic in Salyersville. The opening marked a major milestone for a community and business district ravaged by a tornado in 2012.
History Of Restaurant Row
Work originally began on the Restaurant Row segment in late 2014, following the award of a $24 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant, secured through the combined efforts of former Gov. Steve Beshear, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers and other regional leaders. The grant allowed construction to begin two years earlier than planned. The remaining funding for the $39 million project was committed by the state.
“This is an important milestone for the people of Salyersville and for drivers on the Mountain Parkway,” said Marshall Carrier, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s project manager for the Mountain Parkway Expansion. “When people think of the Mountain Parkway Expansion, they often think about the construction process — and for good reason. But truthfully, the most important part of the project comes after its completion, once Kentuckians can begin traveling on those new roads that have been designed to keep people safe and benefit their communities.”
The Mountain Parkway Expansion is designed to expand and extend the Parkway along a 46-mile stretch between Campton and Prestonsburg. Once completed, the Mountain Parkway Expansion will have created a four-lane, high-speed corridor that connects to Interstate 64 and extends throughout Eastern Kentucky. The completion of the Restaurant Row segment in Salyersville brings the project one step closer to meeting that goal.
KYTC’s work on the Restaurant Row segment of the Parkway included:
- Extending the Mountain Parkway for the first time since it was built;
- Widening the Parkway to four lanes through Salyersville;
- Limiting entry points on Restaurant Row to ensure safety and mobility;
- Adding a system of local access roads to support the commercial and retail corridor.
“The main focus for this project was to improve the flow of these roadways to maximize safety for drivers and pedestrians, while still supporting the business corridor here in Salyersville,” said Carrier. “The Cabinet worked closely with the community to develop a roadway design that would meet the local needs and would improve transportation along a corridor that supports the entire region.”
“At the start of this project, we were excited to see the long-term transformation the construction would mean for the town,” said Salyersville Mayor Pete Shepherd. “In the year since the new lanes were opened to traffic, we’ve seen safer driving through the town. We’ve also seen our main business corridor become more accessible to folks on foot and on bike, since the multi-use path was added. The roadway is not only safer for drivers—it’s now safer for walkers and bikers as well. It represents a real improvement for the health and the safety of our town.”
On Dec. 2, 2020, EA Partners, PLC was awarded an Honor Award from the ACEC-KY Engineering Excellence Awards for their work on the Restaurant Row segment of the Parkway—demonstrating the quality standards this project met through the Mountain Parkway Expansion and their community partners.
Since the roadway was opened to traffic in November 2019, local leaders have spent the past months planning landscaping and beautification efforts for the Restaurant Row corridor that will continue through 2021.
The Restaurant Row segment runs for 2.4 miles, from where the Mountain Parkway originally ended, extending through the Restaurant Row district of Salyersville, to just east of the KY 114 junction at Rock House Road.
“It’s great to see our community thriving with the new improvements from the expansion,” Shepherd said. “We can’t wait for the completion of the Mountain Parkway Expansion, so the benefits we’ve seen in Salyersville can be applied to the entire Mountain Parkway.”