MARTIN — Work crews have begun what state officials are calling a “major” highway rehabilitation project, along Route 80, between Martin and Prestonsburg.
“This is more than just milling and putting down new pavement,” said Mary Westfall-Holbrook, chief district engineer at Highway District 12. “The contractor, Mountain Enterprises, will repair the slotted drains next to the median, clean ditchlines, flush drainage pipes, replace substandard guardrail, and repair base failures.”
A 5.5-mile stretch of the four-lane highway between U.S. 23 at Watergap and Route 122 West at Martin has been reduced to one lane in each direction and the speed limit has been reduced to 45 miles an hour during the $3.7 million project. In addition, anyone caught speeding through the work zone will face double the normal fines.
The project is expected to take at least four months, with a scheduled completion date of Aug. 31, though officials are hoping cooperative weather will allow work to finish earlier than that.
Westfall-Holbrook pointed out that the reduced speed limit is necessary for the safety of the public as well as the workers.
“Construction season for 2013 has begun,” she said. “People will start to see construction and maintenance work zones throughout Kentucky, and there will be dozens in the seven counties of District 12. We want to go through this season with no work zone injuries, and we need motorists to partner with us to make this possible. We want to thank all the good, conscientious drivers whose patience and understanding help us as we work to make our highways as safe as possible.”
Westfall-Holbrook said that the lane in each direction that is open for traffic will change as work progresses. “People need to slow down, pay attention to the signs, and merge as soon as it is safe to do so.