Plans to Improve Highway 119

By: Ashley Reynolds Email
By: Ashley Reynolds Email

A new study shows it would take more than 800 million dollars to expand a heavily travelled Eastern Kentucky road.

State officials say that's how much it would cost to make Highway 1-19 a four lane highway between Bell and Harlan County.

Leaders say they are disappointed with the hefty price tag to make highway 119 a four lane highway between Pineville and Cumberland they are thinking about different ways to fix the dangerous areas.

Hundreds of students at the Page School Center make their way home by getting on the busy road.

Educators want turning lanes to help with the traffic.

"With 500 students daily... in and out ... it just makes sense. I don't understand why that it has not been done before now," said Principal Teresa Wilson.

Eastern Kentucky leaders say the more than 800 million dollar price tag is out of reach, but that isn't stopping them from upgrading the highway.

"There are obviously dangerous sections of 1-19 that have been identified due to fatalities. We should focus on these and try to secure funding for those that are most dangerous and try to get those addressed now under the pretense we would like to have the entire highway four lanes in the future," said Bell County Judge Executive, Albey Brock.

"With that information, that will help them to budget 40-50 million dollars at a time and began to do small sections and eventually get to where we want it to be," said Harlan County Judge Executive, Joe Grieshop.

Officials hope to have crews working on some of those dangerous sections by the end of the year.

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