Commonwealth Journal

Local News

November 11, 2010

Eastbound Parkway lanes open to traffic

Work on transition area to be finished by January

Somerset —  

Both eastbound lanes of realigned Cumberland Parkway at the transitional point on Fishing Creek hill will open today, according to Bill Chaney, branch manager for project delivery and preservation for the Kentucky Department of Highways’ District 8.
Westbound, going downhill toward Fishing Creek bridge, will be one lane while construction continues, Chaney said.
“We will still have lane closures from time to time ... until we get the crossover removed,” Chaney noted. He said earlier that Hinkle Contracting Corporation, general contractor for the project, has told him all four lanes at the transitional point will be completed and opened by the end of the year.
The transitional point at Fishing Creek is where the Cumberland Parkway was rebuilt to veer slightly northward, ending more than two miles east at an interchange with four-lane U.S. 27. The new section of road, built to Interstate 66 specifications, serves as a northern bypass of Somerset.
The rebuilt parkway opened to traffic in September, all except the transitional area on the east side of Fishing Creek bridge where construction and two-way traffic have continued. At the same time most of the road opened, a half-mile section of the parkway, from Fishing Creek bridge east to North Hart Road, was closed and abandoned. 
Closing of the half-mile section of parkway upset Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler. He feels it shuts off the main entrance to Somerset from the west, and that interstate-like exits from the realigned parkway isolate Somerset’s main business district along six-lane U.S. 27.  
Cumberland Parkway is an 88.547-mile-long controlled-access highway that opened in 1972-73. Now the future corridor for the proposed I-66, Cumberland Parkway was the first four-lane highway from out of county extending into Somerset.
The parkway begins at an interchange with Interstate 65 (exit 43) between Smiths Grove and Park City. It travels east through Glasgow, Edmonton, Columbia, and Russell Springs, and, before the half-mile section was closed, to U.S. 27 at Traffic Light No. 3 in northern Somerset.
  Existing Cumberland Parkway, from North Hart Road to U.S. 27, called East Ky. 80, is now the main entrance into Somerset from the west. Exit 86 off realigned Cumberland Parkway leads onto Ky. 914 and to a signaled intersection with the former Cumberland Parkway (East 80). A left turn off Ky. 914 onto East 80 is about two and a half miles to Traffic Light No. 3 and Somerset’s restaurant row.

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