FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today joined state and local officials in breaking ground for a $48 million project to widen a section of the Mountain Parkway east of Campton. Other than pavement resurfacing and bridge deck replacement no noteworthy improvements have been made to Kentucky’s first parkway since it opened in January 1963.
“I think it’s high time we brought in the construction crews and started to work on the Mountain Parkway,” said Governor Fletcher. “This is the primary transportation artery for eastern Kentucky. For decades, every administration has promised to widen the Mountain Parkway east of Campton. I’m here to tell you today that when I make a promise I intend to keep it. We are going to stop talking about it and start moving forward with this project.”
Governor Fletcher also announced that he has designated the widening project to be one of 10 Design-Build projects authorized by the 2007 General Assembly.
“My responsibility as governor is to pave the road to opportunity for all Kentuckians,” Governor Fletcher said. “The Mountain Parkway should be the ‘Road to Opportunity’ in eastern Kentucky. The people in this region deserve nothing less than to have this project placed on a fast track for completion. The economic and safety benefits derived from this investment will improve the quality of life for people in this region for generations to come.”
The Design-Build approach calls for all phases of a project to proceed simultaneously, with project designers and construction contractors working together to speed up all the processes of design, utility relocation, right-of-way acquisition, and construction.
“Everyone in Wolfe County and throughout Eastern Kentucky is truly elated that the widening of the Mountain Parkway is about to become a reality,” said Sen. Robert Stivers (R-Manchester). “Eastern Kentucky cannot realize significant economic progress without improvements to its transportation infrastructure. Our sincere thanks go out to Governor Fletcher and the Transportation Cabinet for taking this important step forward.”
The project will include the widening of the Mountain Parkway to four lanes between exits 43 and 46. It will also include the addition of a ramp from northbound KY 15 at Campton to the eastbound lanes of the parkway. Special drainage features will be added to control runoff from the roadway surface to improve the quality of water in Campton Lake.
Governor Fletcher also said widening the parkway will make it safer for travelers. The section being widened has been the scene of 18 accidents in the last three years, resulting in eight serious injuries and one fatality. “In addition to our successful effort to have effective traffic safety laws passed in Kentucky, we’re improving our older roads in the interest of saving lives in Kentucky,” the Governor said.
In 2006 Governor Fletcher championed the passage of three landmark pieces of highway safety legislation for Kentucky. The primary seatbelt law, graduated driver’s license and “quick clearance” law contributed to the first decline in highway fatalities in Kentucky in seven years. So far in 2007, 40 fewer people have lost their lives on Kentucky roadways than at this point in 2006.