Costs could be cut by more than $64 million
WINCHESTER, Ky. (Sept. 25, 2014) — The Mountain Parkway Expansion will not cost as much as previously thought, Gov. Steve Beshear said today.
The 46-mile project that will create a wider, safer connection between Eastern Kentucky and the rest of the commonwealth was slated to cost $753 million. However, Beshear said that a series of innovative engineering improvements and a $24 million federal grant announced earlier this month could reduce the total estimated cost of the project by more than $64 million and will move more miles of the project to shovel-ready status.
“Common-sense solutions and innovative thinking are the reasons we have been building and expanding roads and bridges across the commonwealth through challenging economic times,” Beshear said. “The Mountain Parkway Expansion is a smart investment in the future of the Commonwealth, its people and our economy because it closes a gap that limits mobility and opportunity for eastern Kentucky.”
The 75-mile parkway was built more than 50 years ago and now ends in Salyersville.
The expansion will 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 will widen 30 miles of the existing parkway from two lanes to four lanes, and will extend the parkway another 16 miles by widening KY 114 between Salyersville and Prestonsburg.
The value engineering team that has been studying ways to make the project more efficient recommended three key changes:
- Modifying the Route Near Kernie – The team identified $32.5 million in estimated savings by taking a more direct route to widen the parkway near Kernie in Magoffin County. By moving the existing alignment away from two creeks, the project can avoid the costly construction of five bridges and reduce environmental impacts to streams and adjacent family cemeteries. The modified route will go across a ridgeline, eliminating a loop in the existing roadway.
- Balancing the Grade Near KY 30 – About $3.5 million will be saved by raising the grade of the parkway near the parkway intersection with KY 30 in Magoffin County. The design change will elevate the road slightly, using material excavated from shallower cuts in the peaks to raise the lower portions of the roadway. The cost savings comes from reducing the amount of excavation and material handling.
- Avoiding the Relocation of KY 134 between Wheelrim Road and Johnson Creek Road overpasses – About $4 million will be saved by shifting the parkway alignment and raising the grade slightly near the Wheelrim Road and Johnson Creek Road overpasses in Magoffin County. The original design required relocation of a stretch of KY 134 that runs parallel to the parkway in this area. The modified design will reduce the amount of excavation and material handling, which will reduce costs.
As design work continues, KYTC and the project team will conduct value engineering analyses on other sections of the existing parkway and the expanded section from Salyersville to Prestonsburg along KY 114, said KYTC Project Manager Marshall Carrier. The goal is to identify design improvements that will increase safety, improve mobility and lower overall costs.
Expansion is scheduled to begin before the end of the year. Initial widening work will focus on a 5.5-mile section of the parkway just west of the parkway’s current end at U.S. 460 and KY 114 in Salyersville, Carrier said. Bids are due tomorrow for the first of three construction contracts to be awarded for work in the 5.5-mile section.