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Second phase of Mountain Parkway expansion is now complete, say state transportation officials

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

State transportation officials on Wednesday announced completion of the second phase of a project to widen and lengthen the Mountain Parkway in eastern Kentucky.

After three years of construction, the new four-lane segment of the Mountain Parkway Expansion running through Salyersville’s Restaurant Row is now fully open to traffic.

Kentucky Today photo

The Restaurant Row section of the Parkway began construction in September 2016. Accounting for 2.4 miles of the Parkway, the Restaurant Row segment runs from where the old Mountain Parkway had previously ended, extending through the “Restaurant Row” district of Salyersville, to just east of the KY 114 junction at Rock House Road.

“In the coming months, crews will be working on smaller finishing touches along Restaurant Row that will be less visible to the public,” says Marshall Carrier, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s project manager for the Mountain Parkway Expansion. “Drivers can expect occasional lanes closures for short amounts of time as projects receive final bits of work. But as of this week, the new four-lane drive and both access roads are fully operational and open to traffic.”

The addition of the Restaurant Row segment is the first extension of the Mountain Parkway since the Parkway was built in the early 1960s and opened to the public as Kentucky’s second toll road in 1963. The tolls were removed in 1985 after the construction bonds were paid off. The Restaurant Row section of the Parkway was designed to increase safety for drivers on the Parkway, as well as those traveling through Salyersville, by expanding the road from two to four lanes and creating wider lanes for larger vehicles.

The project design included two major components:

• The addition of two access roads, each running parallel to the Parkway—one on the left of the Parkway, and one on the right. These access roads—also known as the frontage and backage roads—give drivers the ability to navigate the town and travel back and forth to businesses along Restaurant Row while decreasing interaction with through traffic. This ensures businesses along the corridor remain well-trafficked and easily accessible to the travelling public.

• Building new intersections along the Parkway to limit points of entry on a road that previously acted as a bottleneck for traffic, with more than 80 entrances for restaurants, stores, medical offices and other properties along the same stretch. Limiting points of entry with controlled intersections is a proven method to decrease traffic conflicts. This relieves drivers of having to make the snap decision while driving of where they’re going to turn and waiting for an opening in traffic. The new intersections create a safer and more controlled pattern of traffic.

The Mountain Parkway Expansion is a 46-mile improvement project, that is a key component of closing 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 to four lanes and extend the parkway by about 16 miles between Salyersville and Prestonsburg.

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