Highway 49 South Update

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -It seems like it always takes so long for a highway project to get finished.

Take for instance the widening of highway 49 South from Valley View to Gibson Switch, that's been going for what  Three or Four years?

Well no, actually it hasn't been that long, work got underway in November of 2007 so it's only been around 2 years. Which is actually pretty normal for projects like this.

Depending on the construction details and the amount of asphalt, earthwork and all the items of work. Typically these kind of widening projects can be 2 to 3 years like this one.

It's been under construction nearly 2 years. To people who work along the construction like Ken bowman from Valley View Agri and Supply, it just feels longer.

"It seems like it's been going on for several years. If I had to guess I'd say maybe three or four years."

When a project is let out its completion time is measured in work days. This job should take 250 working days. But doesn't mean working 24/7 especially here in Northeast Arkansas.

Brad Smithee, AHTD District Construction Engineer, "We can expect somewhere between 90 and 120 working days per season or per construction year that may be charged so 2 or 3 years for a job like this is unfortunately not uncommon for our area."

Bowman says overall the construction hasn't been too big of a hassle, just some recent delays.

"It's probably slowed us down a little bit. Lately they've had to close one lane of traffic and so that's kind of caused a little bit of a problem."

And it seems a little strange that the expansion ends at Gibson Switch but that's because eventually 49 will link up with remodeled 226 to extend to 167. But the tie in is a few projects away.

Smithee, "It's anticipated to be 3 or 4 projects to get up there. And again typically these projects are between 1 to three year projects. now that's construction time."

There is lots of paperwork to complete before the first shovel of dirt is moved.

So really, is the 49 South project badly behind schedule?

Smithee, "We wish it were going faster, we wish we were done with it. But at this point no I can't really say that this contract is terribly behind."

This 3.12 mile project should finish up sometime next year at the cost of around 7.7 million dollars.

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