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Highway 412/62 exit/entry ramps to Highway 167 finally completed

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Entry and exit ramps at the intersection of Highways 167 and 62/412 near Ash Flat are finally completed, allowing motorists faster and safer access to the well-travelled highways.

For months, motorists have been forced to sit through as many as three stop lights before making a turn onto 62/412 toward Fulton County.

The $4.5 million road widening project has caused some frustration and delays, but the opening of the ramps and the completion of the Highway 167 widening should reduce congestion.

With a milder than average winter and a dry spring, contractors have been able to complete the entry and exit ramps ahead of schedule.

According to Glen Bolick, a spokesman for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, the full project will be completed by this fall.

While much of the dirt work on the road widening is completed, workers with Batesville's White River Materials have much to do before the projected completion date.

The project began in the Fall of 2010, with the city of Ash Flat moving utilities and obtaining right of way.

An environmental impact statement was submitted to the Federal Highway Administration, which gave final approval for the project to be bid.

Joe Trantham, District 5 construction engineer, said at a June 2009 public meeting that the widening project is needed for safety purposes on the busy highway, and to accommodate future growth.

The AHTD took public opinion surveys and public meeting feedback from area residents into consideration before beginning the 1.1-mile project.

The work will widen the highway going through Ash Flat to five lanes, including a middle turning lane.

The project begins near the intersection of Highway 354 and ends at the intersection of Highway 62/412, which received the improved entrance and exit ramps this week.

Workers are currently involved with concrete work to construct sidewalks, curbs and gutters along the roadside, as well as installing sod.

Crews are also paving segments of the expansion and will raise the side of the road that is not completed to meet the grade of the already completed lane.

Traffic flowed smoothly on Friday, May 4, as drivers were able to drive on the newly paved section of highway for the first time.

Many of the materials for construction are being purchased locally, including concrete and supplies.

Construction workers are also patronizing local businesses and restaurants during the expansion. Businesses, such as Mark Martin Chevrolet, have also been added since the project began.

Despite the progress, patience is strongly urged, as traffic delays will continue during the next phases of construction.

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