Section is eight miles long
PIKEVILLE, Ky. (Dec. 18, 2014) — Gov. Steve Beshear today joined local and state officials to ceremonially open the much-anticipated first half of the U.S. 460 realignment project in Pike County—an 8-mile, $283 million project.
“For nearly a half century, the citizens of Pike County as well as the Appalachian region have waited patiently for this day to arrive,” Beshear said. “When complete, the project will serve as a main artery that will connect U.S. 23 and the Coalfields Expressway in Virginia. This historic opening paves the way for economic opportunity while addressing the improved mobility and safety aspects of the project.”
The 8-mile realignment project, for which began in 2001, includes four 12-foot lanes with two 12-foot shoulders and nine bridges at a price tag exceeding $282.5 million. The entire roadway, from U.S. 23 to the Virginia state line, is expected to cost somewhere around $700 million, which will make it the biggest road project the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has ever undertaken east of Lexington.
The U.S. 460 corridor through Pike County, called Corridor Q in ARC’s listing of Appalachian Project Development highways, is a 16.7-mile stretch which runs from U.S. 23 at Sookey’s Creek, south of Pikeville, to the Virginia state line near Breaks Interstate Park, where it meets a connector to that state’s Coalfields Expressway.
Plans for the Appalachian Corridor System began in the late 1960’s, soon after the Appalachian Regional Commission was established by the United States Congress. There are a total of 13 Appalachian states, part or all of which are included in ARC’s territory. When U.S. 460 is finished, it will complete the ARC corridor system in Kentucky, which also includes U.S. 23 and U.S. 119. The final section of U.S. 119, from the south side of Pine Mountain in Letcher County to the Harlan County line, is under construction and should be completed before the rest of U.S. 460 is finished.
The anticipated completion date for the second half of the project is 2020.