Gov. Beshear, Rep. Rogers visit construction site
SALYERSVILLE, Ky. (Oct. 5, 2015) — Less than one year after Gov. Steve Beshear unveiled the first Mountain Parkway Expansion sign to mark the beginning of road construction, more than one-third of the project is under construction or nearing shovel-ready status.
Beshear, along with and Rep. Hal Rogers and Jared Arnett, executive director of Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), visited the first site of construction today to see the progress that is transforming the parkway into a modern transportation corridor.
SOAR was formed by Beshear and Rogers to overcome persistent challenges in Eastern Kentucky related to job training, health, education and economic development.
“The project to four-lane and extend the Mountain Parkway all the way to Prestonsburg is on track, and it’s exciting to see this progress in person,” Beshear said. “The General Assembly and I made a commitment to the people of Eastern Kentucky to finish this long overdue project. With continued funding, we will meet our goal to have the entire parkway completed or under construction by the year 2020. That’s impressive work by the entire team.”
Beshear, Rogers and other leaders visited at a project site just west of Salyersville, where construction workers are building a new interchange that will serve a planned industrial park. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock and Mountain Parkway Expansion Project Manager Marshall Carrier led a tour of the site and provided a status report on the overall project.
“Working in concert with SOAR, we are closing gaps in economic opportunities across our region and I’m pleased to see the expansion of the Mountain Parkway speeding ahead,” said Rogers. “The future looks bright in Eastern Kentucky as progress continues on the parkway and the I-Way, our broadband interstate.”
By next year, about 16 miles of roadway will be under construction or shovel-ready to allow for construction and property acquisition when funding is made available. The plan includes starting work next year in the Restaurant Row section of Salyersville – the busiest and most congested portion of the parkway. Construction work on this crucial segment of the project was sped by a $24 million federal TIGER grant.
Work could begin next summer to widen and improve about 8 miles of roadway spanning Wolfe, Morgan and Magoffin counties if the legislature provides funding in the next biennial budget.
As additional funds are made available, the remaining Mountain Parkway Expansion projects are in a position to start property acquisition and construction between 2017 and 2020.
“Everyone can see the impressive work that has started here to make this a better road for the citizens of Eastern Kentucky,” Beshear added. “But we must also envision the economic opportunities that are being created as we four-lane the entire parkway and construct a new corridor for commerce. We expect this transformational highway project to support new businesses and new industries that will bring more and better jobs to this region of the commonwealth.”
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 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.