Proposed bypass for Paragould; residents concerned

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - Clearing congestion from city streets is one goal of building a bypass around Paragould.  There are three proposed paths the bypass could take in Paragould.  One runs north of the city and the other two south of the city.  Regardless of where the bypass is built not everyone will be happy.

District Engineer Walter McMillan says Highway 412 has reached its capacity to handle the traffic that already travels along that route and something more needs to be done to alleviate it.

"I think this will be a good thing for Paragould because it will help the existing route of 412 and it will provide other opportunities," said McMillan.

In a meeting held earlier this week, each of the options were presented to the public.  One of the routes comes too close for Tammy May's comfort.

"I understand that it will come through the middle of my farm and across the Greater Vision Church property and come I think too close to the school," said May.

May said the middle route would come near the Greene County Tech Primary School.

"It would devastate me personally of course people have told me, 'I will buy your farm right now because the highway department will pay big money and you'll be rich'.  I don't know if that's true or not but I don't feel that way because I never planned on selling ever," said May.

But the decision is not May's to make.  Instead, it will be up to the Arkansas Highway Commission to decide which route is selected.  They look at which route will carry the most traffic, the cost, environmental impact, and other factors.  But, regardless of which is chosen, not everyone will be happy.

"There's always going to be opposition, but at some point you have got to select a route," said McMillan.

"They're going to go through somebody's farm.  This one goes through my farm and it's close to my heart but you're going to get somebody where ever you go," said May.

A final decision of which route will be chosen is expected to be made this fall.

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