SALYERSVILLE – The first extension of Mountain Parkway in a half-century is set to begin next year with the reconstruction of a wider, safer Restaurant Row in Salyersville. While visible road work is underway to the west, teams are busy finalizing construction plans, land acquisitions and utility relocation efforts to prepare for a summer start.
“You might not see dump trucks or excavating equipment in the Restaurant Row area, but we are working there every day,” said Marshall Carrier, a Kentucky Transportation Cabinet engineer who is the project manager.
As a result of careful coordination among transportation officials, local leaders and business and property owners, the major improvements will allow local access to the community’s economic corridor throughout the construction process, Carrier said.
The Restaurant Row segment is moving forward well ahead of schedule as a result of a $24 million federal TIGER grant secured last year through the combined efforts of Gov. Steve Beshear, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers and a host of regional leaders.
By listening to local concerns and employing innovative designs, the project team has balanced the need to keep pass-through traffic moving and local commerce flowing as they widen and extend the Mountain Parkway.
The 2.4 mile segment will extend the Mountain Parkway from its eastern end at U.S. 460/Parkway Drive to the beginning of KY 114. The current stretch of roadway through Restaurant Row is a bottleneck – with more than 80 entrances for restaurants, stores, medical offices and other properties.
Project team members have participated in more than 200 meetings with business and property owners over the last year to create and revise plans for the roadway.
The innovative project design developed with community input is an alternative to the original proposal, which would have bypassed Restaurant Row. The roadway design utilizes a series of frontage and backage roads along the planned four-lane parkway that link it to the scores of businesses in the busy Salyersville restaurant district.
In September 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded Kentucky a major TIGER grant to speed construction in this crucial section of the parkway expansion. Since that time, engineers and other project representatives have been meeting regularly with residents, utility companies and business operators to finalize planning and prepare for construction.
Carrier noted that construction along Restaurant Row must start next year to allow the state to access the TIGER funding.
“We are focused on keeping this project on schedule, but we also are working diligently to create a parkway that will serve Eastern Kentucky well for decades to come,” Carrier said.
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.
“The four-lane access this project is bringing Salyersville is going to be an economic boom for our community,” Salyersville Mayor Pete Shepherd said. “We really need a four-lane road. It’s going to benefit our citizens. It’s going to benefit our businesses. And it’s going to benefit our economy by supporting tourism and making it easier for visitors to reach destinations like our Dawkins Line Rail Trail.”