April 22, 2004 -- Posted at 11:05 p.m. CDT
PARAGOULD--Every new highway project starts out the same way, with an idea. But, before the asphault can be put down someone has to prove why it's needed. The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department was aiming to do just that last week in Paragould. The AHTD conducted a motorist survey last week at the intersection of Highways 412 and 49 in Paragould. The survey will help determine traffic patterns on both highways and around Paragould.
A similar survey was conducted in Paragould in 1997. The results showed that a bypass would work there, but funding was not available at the time. " There's not enough money to build everything that a survey says is econamically feesiable but this is the first step it keeps it on the radar," says Joe Barnett. Keeping the project on the radar is the first step to building a bypass.
" There's a lot of traffic on 412. If we could get them to bypass that a little bit traffic would lighten up in the city," says Paragould Mayor Mike Gaskill. A bypass would also promote economic developement in and around the area.
Highway projects can years to complete. The final results for this traffic study will not be completed until the end on the year. If the results are positive for the bypass, the project still has to be funded.