Sinkhole repair begins Friday on Mountain Parkway; closures, detours set

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POWELL/WOLFE COUNTIES, Ky. (WTVQ) The eastbound lanes of the Mountain Parkway between exits 33 and 40 in Powell and Wolfe counties will be closed for a maximum of two weeks beginning Friday, Oct. 2.

This detour is 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.

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Eastbound traffic will be diverted off the parkway at Exit 33 to southbound KY 11 and northbound KY 715 through Natural Bridge, Zachariah, Rogers, and Pine Ridge, and will re-enter the parkway at Exit 40.

A signed detour will be posted. This detour will also encompass northbound KY 15 on Slade Hill, as uphill traffic has been prohibited to accommodate the detour for the westbound Mountain Parkway.

If this closure lasts longer than 14 days, the contractor will be subject to financial penalties.

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 milepoint 32, vehicles wider than 11 feet will need to stay on KY 15 between Slade and Stanton, where they can re-enter the parkway at Exit 22.

A contract for the emergency repairs to the Mountain Parkway was awarded last week.

The westbound lanes of this vital transportation artery for eastern Kentucky have been closed since late July, when a sinkhole developed beneath the surface of the road. Both directions of the road must be open to traffic by Oct. 31, or the contractor again will be subject to financial penalties.

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.

Westbound 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 motorists to the possibility of encountering slowed or stopped traffic. An electronic message board has also been placed to further notify motorists of the need to reduce speed and use caution approaching the intersection.

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. That traffic also will be diverted to KY 11 and KY 715 while the eastbound lanes of the parkway are closed.

Eastbound drivers using the KY 11/KY 715 detour are similarly cautioned about a narrow road with numerous sharp curves. Pavement striping is being enhanced along the detour route, and warning signage is being placed and shoulders widened where necessary along KY 715 in the Rogers vicinity.

Any changes to the closure schedule or other traffic alerts pertaining to the project will be posted to the KYTC District 10 Facebook and Twitter pages using the hashtag #MountainParkwayDetour.