US 119 construction to improve drive for locals

PARTRIDGE, Ky (WYMT) - When a new section of US 119 is complete in Letcher County, drivers will have an easier trip to Whitesburg.

The construction site is located near Partridge.

Jamie Adkins is the project superintendent and said they started working back in early April to make the road straighter.

Adkins said they are also expanding the width of the highway, which will keep motorists safe.

"The highway will be two 12 foot lanes, two 10 foot shoulders. Of course, the existing 119 is probably 11 foot lanes with no shoulders, very curvy, lots of coal traffic," said Adkins.

He said the bridge they are building is almost 2,000 feet long and crosses the Cumberland River three different times.

To accomplish that, Adkins said they are cutting through parts of the surrounding mountains to make way for the road improvements.

"We have 3.4 million cubic yards of rock to move," said Adkins.

With state and federal funding, Adkins said they plan to have the project finished early next year.

But Adkins said that date could be moved forward because his team is ahead of schedule at the moment.

"We are about 35 percent complete right now," said Adkins.

Ruby Maggard lives in nearby Eolia and said she is excited for the new section of road.

"It is progress, I think it will be great when it is done," said Maggard.

She pointed out that many people avoid the road whenever possible because of the current conditions.

"It will be good for the neighbors that live down this way because a lot of them, they travel to Whitesburg only if they have to because of the twisty road," said Maggard.


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