Three-year Road, Bridge Project Making Travel Safer In Greene County

MARCH 25, 2004 -- Posted at: 4:30pm

PARAGOULD, AR - Paragould City and Greene County leaders officially declared County Road 808 open on Thursday. It may not seem like a big deal to many of us, but for residents it's an important new route, and it's one step closer to having hundreds of miles of county roads paved.

For much of the last three years, Kim Reeves and his road department co-workers have been paving Greene County roads.

"This particular road's 808. We had one mile that was completely built from start to finish, because this was never a thoroughfare," explained Kim Reeves, Road Superintendent of the Greene County Road Department.

The County Road 808 project also includes putting pavement over the original three miles of gravel and adding two new bridges. It's now a link from Highway 412 to Highway 49 around Paragould on the east side.

Greene County Judge Willie Williams added, "We had a lot of bridges in bad need of repair. We didn't have the money to do this."

In all, 78 new or improved bridges will be built during this three-year project. A 10 year half-cent county sales tax is paying for the upgrades.

"All of the old bridges were wooden piling," said Reeves. "These have 16 inch steel shelf piling with concrete inside."

It's a huge expense up front, but less money will be spent in maintenance over the decades. The lifetime of the black and gold colored concrete and steel bridges is anywhere from 50 to 100 years. Three of the remaining 11 bridges left will be modified to match the construction of the concrete and steel bridges. The other 7 will be made with steel tiles.

About $350,000 had been available for road and bridge maintenance before the tax increase. Judge Willie Williams believes that will be enough to keep the improvements sustained, so that drivers can continue crisscrossing Greene County safely.

Kim Reeves added, "I think the public's gonna really appreciate it when it's all said and done, and I hope we can just keep expanding and keep growing."

The completion date of all of the road and bridge projects is dependent upon the weather. Judge Williams hopes to have everything done by the end of October.