Highway 67 construction nears Lawrence County - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Highway 67 construction nears Lawrence County

WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) -

If you look close enough, construction crews are visible along the second to last section of Highway 67 needed to connect Little Rock to St. Louis.

"It's getting close enough now, the anticipation is pretty high," Brett Cooper told Region 8 News.

The plan for the highway was created decades ago. Once this latest section is finished, there's only about 40 miles left of highway to construct before a Little Rock to St. Louis corridor is complete.
Though construction crews are visible, it will still be awhile before Hwy 67 from Hwy 226 to Walnut Ridge opens.

Regardless, Lawrence County is excited.

Even though the county has had a stretch four-lane divided highway for years, it's only a short stretch of roadway before signs point you toward Highway 63.

Many residents in the area are excited knowing that will change soon.

"The best thing about Walnut Ridge is it's location," Carrie Mae Snapp told Region 8 News.

Snapp is a business owner and life-long resident of Walnut Ridge. She said the town already has a lot to offer with multiple highways, an airport and an Amtrak station.

"And the four-lane being finished will be the icing on our cake," Snapp said.

For the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, the cherry on top will be increased interest in the area.

"Industries look for divided, interstate-grade highways and that's what this will be...for obvious reasons. It helps them with transportation so it gives another tool in the box you might say to lure some industry here," Cooper told Region 8 News.

Cooper is the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge. He also serves as the chair of the transportation committee for the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.

Cooper said hope this section of highway will make Lawrence County attractive, not just to industry, but to people too.

"I think psychologically it's important too because there's no more getting on a two-lane road to get to this part of Arkansas, to get to Walnut Ridge and Lawrence County," Cooper said.

It's that kind of mentality that business owners like Snapp have been waiting for.

"There's no reason for us not to grow," Snapp said.  "We have new industry moving into the area that's going to help us and we need a way to get people in and out of here."

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department anticipates the road to be open sometime next spring or summer. Originally, AHTD expected the road to be open this fall.

Even though there's only about 3 miles left to pave, the base of the road must be constructed first.
As for the remainder of the Highway 67 route, it's still being decided on. Multiple routes have been proposed to connect Walnut Ridge to the Missouri line but AHTD is still looking into which will work best.

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