Construction of Bypass Through Hardy

June 10, 2004 -- Posted 3:15 p.m. CDT

Hardy, AR -- The Ole' Town of Hardy in Region 8 has long been known as a must see for summer travelers, but soon some wandering tourists could be heading off course.

Outside the Bear Bluff Craft Mall on Main Street in Hardy, traffic rolls by swiftly, quite a site for the employees in this shop.

"It's crazy sometimes, we just sit here and watch the people just wait on the traffic to move," said employee Melanie Burton.

But tourists like Tim Hamilton from Missouri say the over-abundance of big rigs on this tight strip causes some big alarm.

"Way too much weight for the street. Streets are too small for those trucks, they should be on the highway," said Hamilton.

That's something the Highway Department is currently working on. A highway 63 bypass in Hardy is under construction to alleviate traffic problems.

"Half the town thinks it's going to be good, half the town thinks it's going to be a lousy idea," said business owner Ernie Erwin.

"I think people will like having the trucks gone, I don't think it will hurt Hardy," said Burton.

"7 different stores have already closed down here in Hardy, I think it will hurt the shops here on Main Street in Hardy," said retailer Maxine Richardson.

"Most of the people are really looking forward to getting all the big trucks off this road, there's hardly a weekend in the summer that goes by where someone doesn't lose a rear view mirror," said Erwin.

"It will be a great relief," said Hamilton. "I think that's great... hope it doesn't hurt the town though."

Construction on the bypass in Hardy is set for completion in December 2005.