September 12th, 2015
LETCHER COUNTY – September 11, 2015 –The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is spending almost a million dollars to upgrade and pave the former Southeast Coal gravel road between Roxanna and KY 1103 near Line Fork. When the work is finished, the road will be deeded over to the Letcher County Fiscal Court as part of the county road system.
Mountain Enterprises, low bidder on the contract at $917,376.00, started work to improve the drainage along the roadway at the end of August. The completion date is November 30, and includes paving the gravel road and guardrail installation in some locations.
“We’ve worked to get this project for three or four years,” said Judge/Executive Jim Ward, “and we definitely look forward to having this road in the county system.”
Ward said that the road will make travel easier and faster for everyone, but especially in critical, life-saving situations. “This will cut down the time for emergency vehicles, first responders, and law enforcement to get to Ulvah, Blackey, and Line Fork. It will be a straight shot now for people to get to the hospital (Whitesburg ARH).”
Ward gave credit to State Rep. Leslie Combs for her efforts to get this project approved and on a fast track. “Without her help, we wouldn’t be this far along, that’s for sure,” he said.
Combs said that citizens of the county came to her a few years ago to discuss their situation. “The people in this area of Letcher County had a long drive to get to the county seat, to get to healthcare facilities. They need – and deserve – a quicker way to travel to Whitesburg.”
Combs, who is the chairman of the Transportation Budget Subcommittee for the Kentucky House of Representatives, looked at several alternatives. “Fixing the Southeast road was a reasonably-priced, quick option to create immediate access for those communities. Work to upgrade other routes would be more extensive and expensive and take a lot more time. This will open up the area between Roxanna and KY 1103 quickly and within our budget constraints. The response time for emergency vehicles and law enforcement between this part of Letcher County and the county seat will improve tremendously. There is no doubt that lives will be saved as a result of this project.”
The new route will be numbered CR 1222; it runs from KY 1103 to KY 588 near Roxanna. Even though the completion date on the contract is November 30 of this year, the project could be finished sooner. “Everything is weather-dependent,” said Chuck Childers, project manager and section engineer for Highway District 12. “If the weather holds out, it is possible that the completed, paved road could be open to traffic before the end of November. We will notify the county and the media when the work is finished. In the meantime, folks should be cautious while driving in the area and watch for work crews, large trucks, and heavy equipment going to and from the project.”
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