Public meeting being held to discuss Paragould bypass - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Public meeting being held to discuss Paragould bypass

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) -A public meeting was held on Thursday night at the Paragould Junior High to allow residents to see the plan for a bypass around the city. 

"It's going to relieve a lot of the through traffic especially truck traffic and things like that," said Paragould Mayor Mike Gaskill.

Mayor Gaskill is excited to finally reach this point in getting a bypass built around his city.

"To be this close is just an affirmation that we're going to get the bypass, where before it had always been when funds are available," said Gaskill.

"A lot of people have been familiar been calling us pretty frequently so those folks are very aware and acutely interested in what is going on," said Brad Smithee, Construction Engineer for District 10 of the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.

Over the past several years, three routes have been considered. 

"They can gather some information on what the plans are take a look at how it effects those properties make comments and help us to do the final changes to the design," said Smithee.

Even with careful planning, this design does affect people.

"There are folks that, wherever it goes, it's going to be on their property.   Some folks like it for various reasons and then you have other folks who have lived out in the country, in a case like this, and there's going to be a highway there," said Smithee.

"It might come, it might take our church but so far I don't know," said James Warbington.

The First United Pentecostal Church has been here for almost ten years.  Pastor James Warbington said he has a lot of questions.

"I'm asking, ‘is it going to affect us?'," said Warbington.  "Are we still going to have our building or will we be hidden by some highway thing?"

As for the city, Gaskill said this will benefit the population he most.

"I don't think anytime you have any kind of highway construction that it has any type of negative impact.  I really believe it will help us in the long run," said Gaskill.

The meeting lasted from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Thursday.  Folks were sent home with information on the bypass and a map of the route.

This public meeting was specifically for the part of the project from Highway 49 South and the section of the bypass along Highway 412 East.

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