PRESTONSBURG – More than 300 people attended a public meeting Thursday night to hear updated details on two options under consideration for extending the Mountain Parkway between Salyersville and Prestonsburg.
No decision has been made on whether to widen the parkway along the existing corridor (KY 114) or build a new road along a cross-country corridor to the north of KY 114. However, further studies over the last few months allowed the project team to refine plans and provide more details about the two routes.
Floyd County Judge Executive Ben Hale was present for the meeting, and when asked about which route he thought was best for Floyd County, he answered that the important thing is that the road get finished.
“Right now, I just want the road done. We got to have this four-lane finished,” said Hale adding that it was important to look at the infrastructure surrounding the project.
“Any development that you have, you got to have infrastructure,” said Hale. “On the old corridor you already have infrastructure in place. Then if they choose the other, away from the existing road… you got that exponential cost that’s not going to be falling on the road development part of it, its going to be something later down the road, as far as any development along that corridor.”
Hale says that Transportation is going about the project the right way seeking comment and concerns from the affected residents and the community as a whole.
“They will do a good job either way, quite honestly,” said Hale. “It will be an excellent road, and it will help Floyd County either way.”
During the meeting at Prestonsburg Elementary School, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet representatives presented a video comparing the alternatives, displayed detailed maps and used computer workstations to show residents how properties might be affected by the alternatives. Project leaders fielded questions and comments, and comment forms were made available for area residents to provide feedback.
Hundreds of area residents also attended a meeting in Prestonsburg in April to learn preliminary details about the two options and offer comments.
“It’s important that we have the public’s participation as we work to identify the best solution to extend the Mountain Parkway and close this gap in four-lane access for Eastern Kentucky,” said Marshall Carrier, a KYTC engineer who is project manager for the Mountain Parkway Expansion. “We are grateful to members of the local community for being so engaged in this process, and their input will continue to be a key component of KYTC’s decision-making process.”
“What we want to do from this point on, is gauge their interest, get some comments back from people,” said Carrier. “Do they prefer either alignment, or no alignment at all; are they of the no build mentality. And take those comments, and that information, and carry it forward into the design process. And next year we’ll be able to choose an alignment.”
Carrier says that designers hope to have the route selected by the summer of 2016.
Detailed maps, video and exhibits from the meeting are posted on the project website, www.mtnparkway.com. Project updates may also be found on Facebook (www.facebook.com/mtnparkway) and Twitter (@MtnParkway). A project office is open in Magoffin Plaza in Salyersville; call (606) 349-8160 for hours.
About the Mountain Parkway Expansion
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. SOAR was formed in 2013 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.
Jackson Latta can be reached at (606) 886-8506