SALYERSVILLE – About one-fifth of the widening and improvements of the Mountain Parkway between Campton and Salyersville will be under construction this summer, marking significant progress for the Mountain Parkway Expansion.
A third construction project starting soon just west of Salyersville will bring a total of six miles of the current Mountain Parkway to the construction phase.
“This marks an important milestone in a project that will eventually close the only gap in a 400-mile, four-lane, high-speed corridor for commerce and mobility across Kentucky from Pikeville to Paducah,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “As we work to increase economic opportunities for eastern Kentucky through efforts like the SOAR initiative and high-speed broadband, we also have to invest in transportation projects that improve connectivity. An expanded and improved Mountain Parkway represents a better connection to jobs, opportunities and investment.”
The half-century-old Mountain Parkway, which starts at Interstate 64 near Winchester, now ends at its intersection with U.S. 460 in Salyersville. The current parkway east of Campton is a winding, two-lane road. It is being improved and expanded to four lanes throughout.
Construction started earlier this year west of the U.S. 460 intersection. A $28 million contract was awarded this week to Bizzack Construction LLC, of Lexington. The company, which already is constructing a new Gifford Road interchange west of Salyersville, was the apparent low bidder on a project to oversee work around the KY 30 interchange (Exit 72).
The new project includes modernizing and improving the KY 30 interchange as well as realigning and widening about 2 ½ miles of the parkway. The changes will significantly improve safety and mobility in the area.
“The Mountain Parkway Expansion is really taking shape,” said Marshall Carrier, a Kentucky Transportation Cabinet engineer who is the project manager. “We’ve been clearing the path for a widened parkway, and we’re starting to replace and build structures that will support a better road.”
Next spring, work will begin to extend the Mountain Parkway through Salyersville’s Restaurant Row area and eventually farther east to Prestonsburg. The completed project will create a four-lane, high-speed route all the way to Pikeville.
The entire Mountain Parkway Expansion is expected to be completed in eight to 10 years, depending on the allocation of available funds by the Kentucky General Assembly. The preliminary cost estimate for the project was about $750 million.
“To me, no road project over the last several decades has been more discussed – or more needed – than the Mountain Parkway expansion, so it is impossible to overstate just how important it is to have construction underway,” House Speaker Greg Stumbo said. “I really appreciate the quick progress being made, and I’m looking forward to the day in the not-too-distant future when this expansion is complete and those of us in Eastern Kentucky have a four-lane highway that is critical to the region’s economic growth. My goal is to build on that momentum so that we can do even more for our transportation system in the years ahead.”
“The Mountain Parkway expansion will help economic development for the eastern part of the state, opening it up for better infrastructure and transportation opportunities,” said Senate President Robert Stivers of Manchester. “I’m grateful to U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, Gov. Steve Beshear, and all who made this vision a reality. It will improve economic opportunity, access to healthcare, and safer transportation routes for commuters. Everyone in this region will see great benefits as this project moves toward completion.”
The Mountain Parkway Expansion is part of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) initiative aimed at revitalizing areas of Eastern Kentucky that have experienced high rates of unemployment in recent years. SOAR is a bipartisan initiative created by Gov. Beshear and U.S. Rep. Harold Rogers. The initiative seeks solutions to improve the economy throughout Eastern Kentucky and improve the quality of life in the region.
“Every milestone met on the Mountain Parkway expansion project is another step forward in SOAR’s mission to improve access to the region and revitalize our economy,” said Congressman Rogers. “Every SOAR project is designed to work in concert with one another, to grow our business recruitment efforts, enhance our tourism opportunities, and launch innovative projects that will develop a better roadmap for the future of our people in Eastern Kentucky.”