Neighbors excited for Highway 226 bypass to open

Highway 226 traffic pattern changes
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Travelers along Highway 226 will not have to wait for trains to pass anymore thanks to a new bypass.

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department said the bypass will open on Thursday.

The new traffic pattern allows drivers to cut directly over to Highway 49 without having to go on the Highway 226 Spur or Woodsprings Rd.

The department said the new traffic pattern will improve travel for drivers and also be safer.

Highway 226 will be four lanes starting at the Big Creek Bridge, and there is a new overpass to avoid the railroad tracks.

Neighbors in the area said they are excited about the bypass for several reasons, including the decrease in traffic.

"I can't wait until it opens," Viola Darr, who lives along the Highway 226 Spur, said. "The trucks are horrible; the traffic is horrible."

Darr also said the bypass will make the area safer for her and other neighbors.

"It is going to be a lot safer," Darr said. "I mean right now you have to watch when you pull out here, and there is so much traffic you have to sit at the end of the driveway two or three minutes before you can even get out, so yes it will be safer and quieter."

According to AHTD, there will still be some construction after Thursday's opening.

The new traffic pattern will limit westbound traffic to one lane until the final paving is complete and local traffic from State Highway 349 will have to use Highway 226 Spur for a couple of days until construction is complete.

AHTD warns drivers to be cautious when traveling in the work zone, and signs will help drivers follow the new pattern starting Thursday.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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