The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has awarded two construction projects totaling more than $43 million in the next phase of a long-term project to widen and straighten a portion of U.S. 119 in Letcher County.
The first project will relocate 1.3 miles of U.S. 119 from 1,000 feet west of KY 3404 to one mile southwest of Maggard Branch Road. Bizzack Construction LLC was awarded the contract on a low bid of $24,410,817. Completion date is December 31, 2015.
Another project will relocate 1.82 miles of U.S. 119 from one mile southwest of Maggard Branch Road to Joe Day Branch. Kanawha Stone Company Inc. was awarded the contract on a low bid of $19,235,620.Completion date is August 1, 2016.
The two project sections are among four needed to complete the 7.1-mile “valley floor” section from KY 3404 near Partridge to KY 932 at Oven Fork. The remaining two sections are on track to be bid by the end of 2014, according to Sara George, information officer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet district 12 office.
George said once the projects are completed, U.S. 119 in Letcher County will have wider lanes and shoulders, more passing zones and improved sight distance. The highway’s narrow, nine-foot lanes will be widened to 12 feet.
U.S.119 links the communities of Whitesburg, Cumberland, Harlan and Pineville and is a primary corridor for trucks hauling coal and timber, two of the region’s principal resources.
Relocation of the roadway will improve safety and level of service, reduce response time for emergency vehicles and add capacity for future traffic demands, highway officials say.