SALYERSVILLE - Many Magoffin Countians, including political, business and residential leaders, attended the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's (KYTC) public meeting concerning the Mountain Parkway Widening and Exit 75 (at Kentucky Route 7) Reconstruction.
Judge Executive Dr. Charles Hardin said, "The last few times I've pulled out there [onto the Parkway] I was very pleased they are doing this because you are taking your life into your own hands when you pull out onto that road."
KYTC Project Manager Jason Blackburn explained that the current intersection to get on and off of the Mountain Parkway from KY 7 is a major area of concern, with a large percentage of accidents occurring there.
The project spans roughly two miles of the Mountain Parkway between mile points 73.5 and 75.3, or from west of the KY 7 interchange extending to the bridge crossing Burning Fork near the route’s eastern terminus at US 460 (just before the red light and Restaurant Row).
As a smaller part to the Mountain Parkway widening project, where the plan is to four-lane the Parkway from Campton to US 23, this project entails widening the Parkway to four lanes through the two-mile stretch, including proper acceleration and deceleration lanes for the entrances and exits of the Parkway, making the road much safer. It will also result in construction of a new bridge across the Licking River and the reconstruction of the KY 7 interchange at Exit 75.
This project is already in KYTC's two-year budget, with funds already appropriated. If all goes smoothly, Blackburn said they will begin the right of way acquisition process at the end of next year. That process could take one to one and half years.
While many landowners will be affected, with portions of property to be purchased by KYTC for the project, one homeowner and two businesses are set to have to be relocated, but KYTC reassures they will work with everyone. Land and property owners will be compensated fairly and assisted in the relocation process.
One home will be directly affected by the project, owned by OJ and Deborah Wireman, and two businesses: Stephens Truck and Trailer Sales and Red's Boot Barn.
Hardin said, "This project will open up the Parkway from Campton to 23 and I can't think of anything more important for Eastern Kentucky, and especially Magoffin, for growth. All projects and grants we apply for ask about road accessibility and size and this will open us up for more funding. This is one thing we ought to all agree on."
The widened Parkway will have a 70 miles per hour design speed, according to the pamphlet provided by KYTC. The section west of the Licking River will have a 40-foot depressed median, while the section across the Licking River bridge and east will have a barrier wall median. The estimated construction cost for the widening is $21.8 million. The proposed route would consist of four 12-foot travel lanes and a modernized interchange at KY 7 that meets current design standards. The existing highway has two 12-foot travel lanes, with a “folded diamond” interchange at KY 7 that does not meet current standards. If everything goes as planned, construction could begin by mid-2015.
KYTC proposed two alternates for the project, with only one that meets the minimum design requirements.
Exit 75 Alternate 1:
This interchange configuration uses straight (diamond) ramps to serve the westbound direction and cloverleaf ramps to serve the eastbound. This arrangement makes the most efficient use of the local terrain. All ramps, acceleration lanes, and deceleration lanes meet or exceed the minimum design criteria.
Exit 75 Alternate 2:
This alternate replaces the existing interchange with a diamond configuration having straight ramps to serve both directions. Ramp F, the eastbound onramp, does NOT meet minimum design criteria due to steep grade (13%). The recommended grade for this type of ramp is 6 %.
The project manager will receive written comments on the project through Oct. 31. Photographs and plans displayed at the public meeting may be viewed at the Department of Highways District 10 office, 473 Highway 15 South, Jackson, during the comment period. Comments on the project may be addressed to: Jason Blackburn, P.E., Kentucky Department of Highways, P.O. Box 621, Jackson, KY 41339