The Mountain Parkway in Eastern Kentucky will expand to four lanes in the coming years under a proposal from Gov. Steve Beshear.

Beshear’s proposal will be paid for with nearly $600 million in state and federal highway funding, and more than $150 million in funds recovered by toll revenues.

“The Kentucky Highway Plan that I will be recommending to the General Assembly will include a series of construction projects by which the Mountain Parkway will be four-laned, lengthened and thoroughly modernized by the year 2020,” Beshear says.

By the year 2020, 46 miles and an additional two lanes will be added to the Mountain Parkway.

Beshear says the project is crucial to the region, which is facing hard times brought on by the dwindling coal industry.

House and Senate leadership eagerly support the plan, which will need to be approved by the General Assembly.

Construction on the project’s first phase, which includes Magoffin and Morgan Counties, is slated to begin later this year.