Drivers warned to stay off new
US 119 in Letcher;
final paving begins soon
LETCHER COUNTY (August 4, 2017) – Next week, Mountain Enterprises will start setting signs and mobilizing equipment on US 119 from the Harlan County line to Oven Fork in Letcher County. The road is not open to traffic, has never been officially open to traffic; however, many motorists have been using the partially completed highway for daily travel. Steve Green, Section Supervisor for Highway District 12, said that trucks, other equipment, and materials will be moved into the work zone and the area will not be safe for anyone not authorized to be there.
"There can be no traffic on the highway while the contractor is working," Green said. "At first it will not appear that much is going on, but drivers should stay off the road whether it looks like there is working under way or not. When a road is not officially open, it is not safe to be driving on it."
He explained that traffic impacts on old US 119 will not be apparent until about November. Until then, motorists should be alert and slow down because the contractor will be moving materials and equipment along old US 119 to get to the work zone site.
Paving, striping, guardrail treatment, and signage are included in Mountain Enterprise's $4,500,740.86 contract. The company has until December 1 to finish the work, although officials with Mountain as well as District 12 engineers expect completion sometime in October, if weather and motorists cooperate.
When this work is finished, the highway will open from the Harlan County line to Oven Fork, a distance of 6.6 miles. At that point, a total of $87,313,576.05 will have been spent on what engineers call the Valley Floor section of US 119 – from the Harlan County line to the base of Pine Mountain. Expenditures break down as follows:
Section 1: Relocation from 1.3 miles east of the Harlan County line to 1000 feet west of the junction of KY 3404; grade and drainage with bridge; Kay and Kay Contracting, $6,508,890.45.
Section 2: Relocation from 1000 feet west of KY 3404 to 1.0 miles southwest of Maggard Branch Road; grade and drainage; Bizzack Construction, $24,280,879.50.
Section 3A: Relocation from 1.0 mile southwest of Maggard Branch to Joe Day Branch; grade and drainage; Kanawha Stone Company, $19,389,437.42.
Section 3B: Relocation from Joe Day Branch to 0.4 mile west of Brown Branch; grade and drainage with bridge; Bizzack Construction, $7,689,524.05.
Section 4: Relocation from 0.1 mile west of Brown Branch to 0.15 mile west of KY 806 at Oven Fork, including approach to existing US 119; bridge with grade and drainage; Bizzack Construction, $21,186,728.77.
Surfacing: From 0.1 mile west of Brown Branch to 0.15 miles west of KY 806 at Oven Fork, including approach to existing US 119, asphalt surfacing; Mountain Enterprises, $3,757,375.00.
Surfacing: From 1000 feet west of the junction of KY 3404 to 0.15 mile west of KY 806 at Oven Fork, including approach to existing US 119, asphalt surfacing; Mountain Enterprises, $4,500,740.86.