PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- A Kentucky Transportation Cabinet official says a piece of the new U.S. 460 in eastern Kentucky should be open to traffic by the end of the year.
Transportation Cabinet official John Michael Johnson says the four-lane section from the U.S. 23 interchange to U.S. 195 at Marrowbone is nearly ready to go.
Johnson says the project should be completed to the Virginia border by 2020.
He added that Virginia officials have said the portion of the U.S. 460 project in that state should be complete to Grundy, Va., at approximately the same time in 2020.
Johnson says once the U.S. 460 project is complete, the project will have cost approximately $706 million.
The $24.9 million project involves the next section of the new corridor between KY 195 and Pond Creek Road.
That section is one of the largest remaining pieces of a new U.S. 460 corridor that will cover nearly 17 miles from U.S. 23 south of Pikeville to the Virginia state line and a connector to the Coalfields Expressway.
“The new U.S. 460 will be vastly different. When the road is complete, people living in or traveling through the region will have a safer, more modern, four-lane highway that their parents and grandparents scarcely would have dreamed possible,” Gov. Beshear said.
The contract calls for the project to be completed by Nov. 30, 2016.
The $500 million project will complete a corridor of the Appalachian Development Highway System in eastern and southeastern Kentucky.
“We’re not just completing a highway. We’re completing a dream,” Gov. Beshear said during a ceremony at a site where the new highway will have ramps to access Elkhorn City.
“The current U.S. 460 opened up this region decades ago. But it can no longer meet the needs of modern transportation, and it poses an obstacle to economic development,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “The new U.S. 460 will give those who live in this region, or travel through it, something they badly need – a modern and safer four-lane highway.”
The new U.S. 460 will cover 16 miles from U.S. 23, south of Pikeville, to the Virginia line near Breaks Interstate Park. The highway will have depressed medians, wide shoulders and partially controlled access. It is just a notch below standards for interstates and parkways, which are fully controlled access.