New Section Of U.S. 119 Is Finally A Reality

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

It's been more than 40 years in the making, and now a new section of U.S. 119 is finally a reality.

The road is officially open and that has cut travel time and giving the area new opportunities for new business.

You can travel from Pikeville to Belfry or vice-versa in about 25 to 30 minutes now.

That drive used to take at least one hour.

Leaders think the faster travel will turn into more dollars for the local businesses.

It's less than a two mile stretch of highway, but Pike Countians can't measure what it means.

The highway nicknamed the Appalachian Corridor cuts travel time in half between Pike County and West Virginia.

Sara George remembers writing to lawmakers when she was in the 8th grade in the 1960s, pleading for the highway.

She's excited to finally drive it.

“The Appalachian folks, us Appalachian Americans, are no longer isolated from anywhere else in the country. This is a wonderful symbol of a vision people had more than 40 years ago,” George said.

The vision wasn't just for a road, rather an economic boost.

Officials say the isolation kept new businesses away.

Now leaders believe that will change.

“The new roadways open up a vast amount of opportunity as being able to bring things in and take things out, so that will be an attractive piece for new businesses,” Brad Hall said.

Hall believes current businesses will see a boost too.

He says the quicker travel between Pikeville and Belfry means more local customers, “The biggest thing opening up this part of the county to this part of the county so it is easy to get over there because there's tons of opportunity for business over there,” Hall said.

Hall says everyone will benefit, and George believes a dream more than 40 years in the making will finally come true.

Parts of the road still have some finishing touches before the highway is completely finished.

Transportation officials are planning a ribbon cutting in the spring when it's done, and hope to have people who first dreamed up the road in 1960s there.

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  • by Mike Location: Harlan County on Mar 4, 2008 at 07:16 PM
    When is the state going to recognize HARLAN COUNTY for what it has given and offers to the state in workforce and resources???? WHEN IS IT GOING TO BE OUR TURN FOR GOOD ROADS??? Pike and the area benefitted from Patton....we still struggle with NOTHING because of a lack of representation. Our county is divided into 3 blocks that share reps from other counties, reps that cover that entire county and we, the 4th largest county in the state is cut up into pieces. WHY and WHO allowed this? I am tired of the good people of Harlan County not getting infrastructure to grow...I don't want a "hand out" I want the county to get a "Hand Up". Get us roads, we will take care of happenend in Pike didn't it?????
  • by Andy on Mar 4, 2008 at 04:43 PM
    yea, you can get there quick,but in Gods name would want to go there?????


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