Department of Highways, District 10
Transportation Secretary Nighbert, Local Officials Mark Opening of New KY 7
JACKSON, KY – (Dec. 2, 2005) -- Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Bill Nighbert joined local officials in Morgan County and West Liberty today to cut a ribbon ceremonially marking the opening of a new section of KY 7.
"This new highway provides a vital transportation link not only to local residents, but to all of eastern Kentucky," Secretary Nighbert said. "This route is an important connector link between the Mountain Parkway and Interstate 64. The new section replaces a substandard but heavily traveled older alignment that was narrow, marked by hazardous curves and prone to slips and slides. This new section of road represents a major safety improvement. It will benefit economic development efforts in the region and will improve access to education and health care opportunities for those living in Morgan and nearby counties."
The new 2.1-mile alignment opened to traffic in September. Some final surfacing and landscaping work remains to be completed, along with guardrail installation, before the construction project is complete. The contract was awarded on the $13,052,742.94 project in January 2003 and work began later that year.
The new route begins at the north city limits of West Liberty, just north of the US 460 intersection. It ends at the intersection of KY 7 and KY 519, and includes a new bridge crossing Elk Fork near the northern end. The route ties into KY 519, much of which has been improved in Morgan and Rowan counties, connecting West Liberty and Morehead. Several sections of KY 7 in Morgan, Elliott and Carter counties between the north end of this project and Grayson have also been rebuilt or are slated for improvements in the state's Six-Year Plan.
Not only is this route part of a corridor under development between the Mountain Parkway and I-64, but eventually it will become part of a larger corridor linking I-75 at London with I-64 in the Grayson-Ashland area. That corridor will serve the counties of Laurel, Jackson, Owsley, Lee, Wolfe, Morgan, Elliott and Carter.
Drivers are reminded that this area is still part of a construction zone. Motorists are asked to "Drive Smart" and be alert for flaggers, workers and equipment in the construction zone. They are also reminded to slow down in work areas, to obey any posted speed limit reductions, and to pay attention to any traffic control devices such as cones, barrels or barriers they may encounter in the work zone. There may still be delays in the work area, so drivers should plan their trips accordingly.
Cutting the ribbon to ceremonially mark the opening of new KY 7 in Morgan Count were, from left, State Rep. John Will Stacy; West Liberty Mayor Robert Nickell; Transportation Secretary Bill Nighbert; Chief District Engineer Linda Wagner-Justice; Morgan County Judge-Executive Tim Conley; and Governor's Office Regional Representative Patty White. The event was moved to the Morgan County Community Center from the new highway site because of the cold weather.