July 25, 2005--Posted at 5:00 p.m. CDT
Jackson County- If you've been through Newport, you've probably noticed that the 4-lane Hwy 67 just ends. Where the road ends our questions begin.
Arkansas State Highway Department Director, Stan Glover was able to tell us that the overall plan was developed in 1997. Due to lack of funds, the construction has just started.
"It will take us 325 working days to complete our job here, and we are on day 63."
Right now, Hwy. 67's 4-lanes end at Newport at Hwy. 18. From 18 they are working on a road that runs North, just East of Tuckerman that crosses Hwy. 37, and will tie into Hwy 226. They hope to go from there to Hwy 230 outside of Bono, and then possibly continue to the Hoxie/ Walnut Ridge area.
How long will all of this take?
Joe Barnett with the Highway Department (District 10) says that the road they are working on from Hwy. 18 to Hwy. 226 will take up to five years if the weather permits. From there the completion time will depend on the contracts.
This isn't just the only area that's been affected. Hwy. 67 continues up through Missouri. The Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission stated they will begin construction of additional two lanes on 50 miles between Poplar Bluff and Fredericktown. It's estimated to cost $180 million and has been approved through 2010.
Lawrence County residents say this has been a long time coming.
"We have children that go to the Children's Hospital in Little Rock every so often, and this would be much better of a drive."