Paragould residents react to proposed 49/412 bypass changes - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Paragould residents react to proposed 49/412 bypass changes

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department has made changes to their proposed western bypass of Highways 49 and 412 in Paragould, but many want the route moved not changed.

Thursday night, the public was able to give even more feedback to the hotly debated western bypass.

The eastern bypass in Paragould is nearing completion but public outcry of the western bypass had AHTD officials going back to the drawing board.

In their initial proposal, an interchange at Highway 358 would effect 80 acres, impacting land and homes.

Thursday, AHTD came back with option #2 for that interchange.

"The other one is a little bit more of a tighter design," Ruby Jordan with AHTD told Region 8 News. 

"We will have relocations with both interchanges. One will have a stoplight eventually."

That second option has a footprint of 50 acres versus 80 acres.

Still, most residents weren't happy.

"I think a large contingency of folks would still be unsettled by the fact that the route has not changed," resident Curtis Hitt said. "It interferes with a lot of property."

Hitt said residents were told months ago that the Highway Department would reconsider things.

"As a result, they were going to schedule another meeting that we thought would take into account our objections not only to the design but also as to the location," Hitt said.

David Snodgrass also attended the meeting. He and Hitt were both happy their concerns were heard.

"But I don't believe they have reached the optimum solution at this point," Snodgrass said.

Snodgrass and many others say they plan to submit more feedback to the design.

"If they do another study, there's gotta be an option that doesn't impact near as many people or as much property," Snodgrass said.

Until a final design is presented, residents are trying to remain hopeful.

"What we're hearing tonight from the highway department, at least unofficially, is that they have an open ear and that they are still continuing to consider our objections and that they will consider other routes," Hitt said. "We hope that's the case."

If you couldn't attend the meeting, you can submit your concerns to the Highway Department by November 14.

Written letters will be accepted at: 

AHTD Environmental Division

P.O. Box 2261

Little Rock, AR 72203

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