Letcher County will receive $71.5 million for road improvements in the state’s two-year road plan recently passed by the Kentucky General Assembly.
Senator Johnny Ray Turner and Representative Leslie Combs said $45.55 million of the funds will be spent for the widening of U.S. 119 from Jenkins to Whitesburg. Construction of the widening will start in both Jenkins and Whitesburg. Turner and Combs said they were also able to secure an additional $92.2 million in the six-year road plan for the U.S. 119 widening project.
“I am pleased to see this project moving forward,” said Combs, cochair of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation. “The widening of the road from Payne Gap into Whitesburg will improve both safety and time.”
Funds will also be allocated to the following projects during the next two years:
• $64.5 million for relocation be- ginning 1.3 miles east of the Harlan County line to 1.71 miles east of KY 3404 near Joe Day Branch;
• $5 million for surfacing on U.S. 119 from 1,000 feet west of JCT KY 3404 to 0.15 west of KY 806 at Oven Fork including approach to existing U.S. 119;
• $2.5 million for reconstruction of U.S. 119 from 0.15 mile west of KY-806 to KY-932;
• $670,000 to replace bridge and approaches on KY 343 over Wright Fork;
• $270,000 to replace bridge on City Street 2026 over Elkhorn Creek at East Jenkins;
• $450,000 to replace bridge on County Road 1841 over North Fork Kentucky River;
• $1,895,000 to replace bridge on KY 2034 over North Fork Kentucky River;
• $875,000 to replace bridge on Steel Bridge Road over North Fork of Kentucky River at JCT with Highway 7;
• $275,000 to replace bridge over Poor Fork of Cumberland River on KY 3404;
• $200,000 to replace bridge on Hampton Branch over Cowan Creek;
• $6.06 million to improve the existing roadway to meet current standards and improve congestion into and out of Jenkins between milepoint 8.741 and milepoint 9.247, and
• $1.35 million for congestion/ safety improvement at the junction of Main Street and East Main in downtown Whitesburg.
“These improvements to our infrastructure will have a positive impact for many years to come and are vital to the future economic development of the area,” Turner said. “I am pleased that we are moving forward with these much-needed projects in Letcher County.”
Turner and Combs were also able to get $10 million included in the six-year road plan to upgrade and resurface KY-160 (Roxana- Van Road). This will be the access road to the federal prison that will be built in Roxana.
“The proposed federal prison would employ an estimated 300 full-time workers. That’s not including the jobs created in the private sector to support the federal prison. The state must do everything it can — such as these road improvements — to encourage this kind of investment in the region,” Combs said.
Turner represents the 29th district, which includes Floyd, Harlan, Knott and Letcher counties. Combs represents the 94th district, which includes Letcher County and part of Pike.