No fix in sight for Town Branch

by Jackson Latta - [email protected]

PRESTONSBURG – Floyd county residents looking for a short cut into Prestonsburg may be dealing with poor road conditions as severe weather and delays have stymied work on Town Branch.

Route 3384 (Town Branch) has been something of a paradox since the turn of the century when a new multi-million dollar bridge was built spanning the Big Sandy River. However, between the bridge and US 23, lies a single lane road, barely wide enough for passing vehicles, no posted speed limit, and numerous pot holes, slips and broken asphalt. Since the construction of the bridge no apparent improvement of the road has been made by the state.

According to Chief District Engineer Mary Holbrook, with regard to Transportations six-year-plan; no significant improvements are scheduled.

“Not at this point I don’t think. We have an unscheduled needs list. We work with local ADDs and local legislatures. We put together a wish list. In that wish list there is a curb improvements,” said Holbrook.

She says that a widening of the road would be a massive right-of-way and engineering undertaking.

“We all know that it’s dangerous. So we watch, but we don’t have any money appropriated in the six-year-plan to work on it.”

Town branch offers a quick way for commuters to arrive and depart Prestonsburg by avoiding commercial buildup and traffic delays on Route 114 and North Lake Drive. However in the last year the road has become more treacherous than ever before.

In the last two years Floyd county, as well as most of Eastern Kentucky, has been sacked with intense flooding and snowfall. The combination of the severe weather has left slips along Town Branch where half the road has caved and fallen away.

Road signs have been up suggesting work on the road for approximately six months, but as Holbrook told Times staff on Monday; it may yet be awhile before work actually begins.

Holbrook says that the road damage began during the August 2014 flooding. She says that Transportation contracted with the Hinkle Environmental Services to work in several areas after the flooding. “Then the April 2015 flooding came, so we got more sites.”

“Where we have had so many storms hit us back to back. It may not look like were doing anything , but we’ve got this all through the district and we’re doing the best we can,” Holbrook said.

According to Holbrook, the contract with Hinkle is set to expire at the end of November. “We’re working on it, but it will probably be a couple months before it is finished. That deadline could extend out. We’re just not sure yet.”

by Jackson Latta

[email protected]

Reach Jackson Latta at (606) 886-8506

Reach Jackson Latta at (606) 886-8506

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