GREENE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Since the early 1990's, the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has worked to widen Highway 49 and now, they are moving forward with continuing that project.
"We developed Highway 49, making it five lanes from 412 to 69," said Brad Smithee, District 10 engineer for AHTD. "The next phase was to bring that up to Court Street and after that was to bring it to 135. Now, we are widening from 135 to County Road 845."
Smithee said this is all in an effort to alleviate traffic congestion on the stretch of roadway, which is currently two lanes.
AHTD held a public hearing Thursday at the Paragould Community Center to answer any questions and concerns residents may have with the proposed project.
"We have people concerned about if this will affect their homes or the utility in the area," said Smithee. "This is a chance for them to speak up so we can maybe make adjustments with the design that we have."
Smithee said one day, the project could go all the way to Marmaduke but they just have to have the funding to get the projects started.
He said though they can please everyone, he wants to do whatever they can to make residents happy.
"This is why we are here a couple of years in advance before we put a lot of man hours in the design," said Smithee. "It allows us to move forward with good information and concerns from folks and lets us design the best thing we can to fit what all needs as best we can."
Smithee said best case scenario, he hopes to begin construction by summer 2019.
He added if you were unable to attend the meeting Thursday to contact them at their district office in Paragould for any questions or concerns about the project at (870) 239-9511.
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