Project will eliminate chronic flooding on roadway, provide for safer travel along busy route
Media Contact: Nicole Burton
HARLAN, Ky. (Oct. 18, 2018) – During a community forum in Harlan today, Gov. Matt Bevin announced approval of $802,000 in Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) funding to reconstruct a half-mile section of U.S. 421 in Harlan County.
This project will eliminate chronic flooding along the popular route that stretches to the Virginia state line. The funds will be used to raise the roadway, providing safe and reliable access for motorists who rely on this major Eastern Kentucky thoroughfare to access homes and jobs and to transport goods.
“I am pleased to announce this $802,000 investment through the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to make vital upgrades to U.S. 421 in Harlan County,” said Gov. Bevin. “This project will help to alleviate recurring flooding issues on this heavily traveled highway, improve safety for commuters, and enhance economic opportunities for the coal, logging, and other industries in the region.”
The half-mile section is part of a 13-mile reconstruction project that residents have been awaiting for a decade and a half. Funding was originally authorized during the Patton Administration, but only approximately 10 miles of U.S. 421 were improved — leaving the remaining 3.6 miles untouched since 2003.
The completed 10 miles of the corridor realigned the previously narrow, winding two-lane road with a straighter roadway featuring wide, paved shoulders and truck climbing lanes for large trucks to travel on steep grades without slowing traffic.
“This work builds upon the significant improvements residents have seen over the years by addressing issues with the flood-prone roadway that disrupts traffic and compromises safety during periods of heavy rainfall,” said KYTC Secretary Greg Thomas.
Rep. Chris Fugate expressed appreciation for the impact the project will have for commuters.
“This project will help all motorists who travel through Harlan County for work or school,” said Rep. Fugate. “I am thankful for the State's investment on this roadway that has been long-needed.”
Sen. Johnny Ray Turner said the upcoming work is necessary for affected residents in the area.
“County Judge-Executive Mosley and I have visited this section of road, reviewed the need for improvements and discussed the hardship currently imposed because people cannot travel the road even to get to their homes,” said Sen. Turner. “I am thankful that the Transportation Cabinet is able to address a road reconstruction on U.S. 421 and am glad I was able to work with local and state officials to help facilitate this project.”
Work will take place between milepoints 3.2 and 3.8, from the foot of Crummies Mountain to Cranks Creek going toward the Virginia state line. Once the newly funded half-mile project is complete, only 3.2 miles will remain to finish the 13-mile U.S. 421 corridor project to Virginia.
KYTC crews will be responsible for administering the work, which is anticipated to begin in spring 2019 and finish by summer 2019.