Eastern Kentucky's Mountain Parkway expansion is years from completion but Governor Steve Beshear and other state and local officials gathered Thursday in Salyersville to mark the first phase of the project. Mayor Pete Shepherd says the four lane highway will pass through the heart of his eastern Kentucky community.
"In the initial plan, they planned on by passing Salyersville with this four lane. Our restaurant row and everything was just gonna be bypassed and we just was gonna be put over to the wayside. We talked to legislators and everything and they decided to put it right through the middle of Salyersville, where we wanted it to go to start with. And with that, it's gonna help us grow and prosper on as a community," said Shepherd.
Shepherd says plans call for crews to begin moving utilities in and around Salyersville in February. "Better access to eastern Kentucky. You know, with the coal kind of dwindling down we're going more into kind of like the tourism part of the economy with our area, especially with the new Dawkins rails to trails coming through Magoffin County. It will just make better access to eastern Kentucky, in and out, and should bring more industry, really and truly," explained Shepherd.
Shepherd says it could be a decade before the entire Mountain Parkway expansion is complete, however he says the first step is an important one.