Eastern Arkansas Plans for Road Improvements

February 20, 2004--Posted at 7:30 p.m. CST

JONESBORO--A 275 billion dollar federal highway bill passed congress and now the Arkansas highway department is the beneficiary of over 2.4 billion dollars.

"These are things that the Jonesboro regional chamber has been lobbying for several years, and we think they are important to the economic development of Northeast Arkansas not from just an industrial point of view but from all kinds of transportational points of view, " said Henry Jones.

Late last week congress announced a 16 million dollar plan to improve specific roads in eastern Arkansas. It's been a long time coming and the university has been working on this for years", Jones said.

The proposed caraway road overpass in Jonesboro will get at least seven million dollars for those improvements. "Which is something that the university and community has been lobbying for years and it has specifically has been mentioned so it probably has been earmark", said Jones.

One hope for the new overpass is that it will establish a stronger connection with Arkansas state university and downtown Jonesboro.

Highways 412, 226, and future interstate 555 from i-55 to Jonesboro will receive money for improvements as well. Henry Jones said, "If they are designated corridors will get funding as the next six years goes by. You will be in the front of the line so to speak".

As of now, the house has approved its version of the bill which is more money than the senate version. Now the measure goes to committee to hash out what the final numbers will be....then.... It goes to President Bush.