AHTD: U.S. 63 should fully reopen early next week

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Drivers should expect to see the U.S. 63 bypass through Jonesboro reopen to four lanes by next week at the latest.

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) expects to clear out all the orange barrels, with only one additional project to complete in the area.

"It's all kind of wrapping up," said Walter McMillan, the AHTD district engineer.

McMillan says AHTD spent $1,559,000 to smooth out the roadway's cement pavement between Southwest Drive and Stadium Boulevard in a process called "grinding," though its completion was delayed due to the contractor's schedule.

McMillan says stop signs slowing oncoming traffic onto U.S. 63 should disappear as soon as crews paint the necessary markings onto the pavement.

"That type work goes pretty fast," he said, "and hopefully they will get that done this week where we can get the barrels out of the way."

Crews also remodeled several interchanges near the highway this summer.

Turning lanes and signal lights were added to two intersections, including the one at Parker Road and Stadium Boulevard. Those projects cost AHTD about $310,000.

McMillan says these changes should create less congestion in the area, which is welcome news to drivers like Sam Howard of Paragould.

"It's just really a headache," Howard said about all the construction. "It just seems like it's taking them forever to get it done."

While U.S. 63 should fully reopen soon, drivers can expect delays at the intersection of Parker Road and Hwy. 1B for a while longer.

AHTD is putting in a few new turning lanes and signal lights in the area and is projecting completion by either late fall or early spring depending on the weather.

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