JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A $1.2 million dollar grant for the City of Jonesboro means planning can begin for an overpass on Highland Drive.
The city received the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Grant on Tuesday.
Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin commended the city's grants department for helping obtain it.
"Those grants are very, very hard to get. Very competitive," Perrin said.
The grant will cover the environmental impact study and design of the overpass. Perrin said had the grant money not come through, the project would have been put on hold even longer. As trains often block traffic on Highland, Perrin was glad the grant money came through when it did.
"They were delaying our traffic up to 58 minutes," Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin told Region 8 News. "It's gonna increase the flow of traffic, much safer on that."
The city is contributing $300,000 to this phase of the overpass project. Perrin said he hopes to put bids out on the project soon.
"When we go to the highway department and the railroad department and say 'We're putting in $1.2 million, how much will you put in?'"
Perrin said he hopes to announce plans later this year or early next year on big traffic projects for 2015.
"We've got 6 major projects the highway department is working with us now. Once we know the exact dollar amount, we'll take that before citizens and say this is what we want to do and we think we need to do it now, here's what the cost is and here's how we can pay for it," Perrin said.
Those projects include the eastern bypass and added turn lanes to some of Jonesboro's busiest roads.
Perrin said options for paying for these projects could mean a sales tax increase or waiting for funds from the federal level.