JACKSON, Ky. (KT) - Eastbound lanes of the Mountain Parkway between exits 33 and 40 in Powell and Wolfe counties have reopened after repairs to a sinkhole were completed a day ahead of schedule, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
The closure was necessary for repairs to the roadbed after a sinkhole was discovered in late July that forced the closure of the westbound lanes near the Tunnel Ridge Road underpass at the Powell-Wolfe county line.
Westbound Mountain Parkway traffic will continue to be diverted off the parkway at Exit 40 and follow a signed detour via northbound KY 15, re-entering at Exit 33. Since a wide load restriction is in effect for a bridge rehabilitation project near mile marker 32, vehicles wider than 11 feet must stay on KY 15 between Slade and Stanton, where they can reenter the parkway at Exit 22.
As the area remains an active work zone, transportation officials say drivers should slow down and use caution, and that despite the reopening, some lane closures on the eastbound side may be necessary, as construction continues on the westbound side.
Drivers who use the KY 15 detour are urged to use caution, as the route is narrow with a steep downhill grade and sharp curves. Additional warning signage has been installed, particularly near the KY 715 south intersection at Pine Ridge, to alert drivers to the possibility of encountering slowed or stopped traffic. An electronic message board has also been placed to further notify drivers of the need to reduce speed and use caution approaching the intersection.
Westbound truck traffic between the US 23 corridor in eastern Kentucky and I-64 in central Kentucky may prefer to use other routes, such as I-64 through Catlettsburg; or KY 80, the Hal Rogers Parkway, and I-75 via Hazard and London.
To accommodate trucks using the signed westbound detour route, southbound KY 15 has been closed on Slade Hill. Through traffic on KY 15 is directed to use the eastbound Mountain Parkway, and signs are posted.
The road is scheduled to be opened to travel in both directions by Oct. 31, or the contractor will incur substantial financial penalties. Work began the last week of September on the emergency $1,091,845.38 repair contract, which was about half the estimated $2 million cost of repairs.