Appalachian Corridor Segment Overview and Details

Brief History | Location | Purpose and Need | Roadway Design Features
Access | Alignments | Future Activities | Contents

Under the ISTEA-Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act*, the Interstate 66 Feasibility Study, conducted in early 1990, examined the possibility of a coast-to-coast highway. Pertinent conclusions of this study were that "linkage to the National Highway System and/or key elements of a state’s transportation system" may be economically feasible. The National Highway System Designation Act, enacted in 1995, refined the location of I-66 to include the state of Kentucky, more specifically " ...centered on the cities of Pikeville, Jenkins, Hazard, London, Somerset, Columbia, Bowling Green, Hopkinsville, Benton, and Paducah." By 1997, the Southern Kentucky Corridor (I-66) Economic Justification and Financial Feasibility study showed that an interstate type facility was justified as indicated by the prior study. Once shown feasible, the Southern Kentucky Corridor (I-66) Location study, (Hazard, Kentucky to West Virginia, an 80-mile route), was prepared in order to better define the highway corridor as well as estimate construction costs. In March of 2000, this study was amended by the Southern Kentucky Corridor (I-66) Addendum to 1997 Location study, which further refines the project corridor and reviews environmental issues within the corridor. By April of 2000, a design team was assembled, consisting of members of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the West Virginia Department of Transportation, as well as a consultants from American Consulting Engineers, Palmer Engineering, and Vaughn & Melton Engineers & Architects. Finally on April 28, 2000, in order to aid and assist in the alignment identification and selection process, an I-66 Appalachian Corridor Team (I-66 ACT) was formed.

The Appalachian Corridor Segment is a 30-mile portion of the Southern Kentucky Corridor (I-66), which extends the length of Kentucky through the southern tier of counties. The Appalachian Corridor Segment, begins in Pike County on US 23 near Pikeville, Kentucky and proceeds in a northeasterly direction through Kimper, McVeigh, and Ransom. The corridor crosses the state line and ends at the proposed King Coal Highway (Interstate 73 / 74 corridor) in Mingo County, West Virginia. This corridor is shown on the project exhibits.

The purpose and need for this highway are:
  • To open new economic development opportunities in Pike and Mingo Counties.
  • To improve accessibility to government services: higher education, employment, retail/shopping and medical, dental, and legal services.
  • To improve east-west connectivity to the National Highway System.
  • To increase tourism opportunities to Fishtrap Lake and other nearby attractions.
  • To improve highway safety to the traveling public.

In Kentucky, I-66 will consist of an interstate type design, i.e., the typical section consists of four traffic lanes, two in each direction, separated by a 60-foot depressed grass median, and a 70 mph design speed. In West Virginia the typical section is different because the highway is being designed as an expressway. The median width will be 40 feet wide with a design speed of 65 mph.

Access to the highway in Kentucky will be fully controlled. A fully controlled access means that all traffic entering or leaving the roadway will occur at proposed interchanges with existing roadways located in the project corridor.

In West Virginia, access will be provided at intersections, generally two in each direction per mile.

The lines shown on exhibits are the result of a series of meetings with the public, I-66 ACTm and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and West Virginia Department of Transportation Officials. Some have been developed based on public meetings (during an early phase) while others have been revised as a result of I-66 ACT meetings. All are subject to change based on public comment.

Future activities include:
  • A review of the comments and questionnaires received today.
  • Additional meetings with the I-66 ACT.
  • Identification of "best fit" alternatives for preliminary engineering based on public comment, environmental findings, and engineering costs and conditions.
The “best fit” alternatives (which are actually 1000-foot wide corridors) will be fully developed in the next project phase. Refer to Nine Steps in Building a Highway, Step Four.

This package contains several attachments which include:

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