SALYERSVILLE – Construction crews working on the Mountain Parkway Expansion have placed more than 90 tons of concrete beams to create a new crossing on the Eastern Kentucky roadway.
Six months after clearing and construction work started in Magoffin County – the first phase of the Mountain Parkway Expansion – crews set 18 beams to support a 275-foot bridge over the Middle Fork of the Licking River. The bridge will carry two lanes of eastbound traffic near the new Gifford Road interchange.
“Travelers passing this new span are really seeing the progress we’ve made to expand the parkway in the six months since work started,” said Marshall Carrier, a Kentucky Transportation Cabinet engineer who is the project manager. “Our crews here have cleared the land, and they are pouring concrete to support new bridges, ramps and roadway.”
The new bridge and a parallel span that will carry westbound traffic are expected to be completed this fall. The interchange at Gifford Road, which will provide access to a planned industrial park, is scheduled to open to traffic late next year.
The Gifford Road project is one of three that started this year to the west of Salyersville. In addition to the work near Gifford Road, projects to make improvements to the KY 7/Salyersville interchange (Exit 75) and the KY 30 interchange (Exit 72) are entering the early phases of construction.
Combined, the three projects will widen 5.7 miles in one of the most traveled sections of the parkway.
By next summer, work also is scheduled to begin along Restaurant Row in Salyersville, a 2.4-mile segment that will extend the Mountain Parkway from its eastern end at U.S. 460/Parkway Drive to the beginning of KY 114.
“When the Restaurant Row project begins next year, we’ll have nearly one-fifth of the construction projects underway,” Carrier said. “That’s major progress in a short time for a project as large as this one.”
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.
The Mountain Parkway Expansion is a key project of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) initiative. Launched by Gov. Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers in 2013, SOAR is designed to help the region develop and put into action new locally-oriented strategies to attack persistent challenges related to job training, health, education and economic development.