The new section of U.S. 119 South from Eolia to the Harlan County line is open to traffic.
Paving, striping, guardrails and signage were just completed on the new highway, which will cut travel time from Whitesburg to Cumberland by about 10 minutes. With the opening of the new road, only one section is left in that highway plan to be built. That section is from Ovenfork Mercantile to the first section of three-lane highway on Pine Mountain. Right-ofway acquisition will begin next year for that section of highway, with construction in 2020.
With that work completed, there will still be another section of the original highway that has not been replaced, leaving a twolane bottleneck between Whitesburg and the beginning of the first three-lane section of highway headed south. Highway department spokeswoman Sara George said there are currently no plans to rebuild that section of road.