Dreams of Overpass at ASU Closer to a Reality

March 2, 2006 -- Posted at 5:40 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- An overpass at Arkansas State University could be closer to a reality.

The idea of an overpass has been discussed for several years, and now, it seems construction could be just around the corner.

Officials with the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce, the city of Jonesboro, as well as ASU have arrived home from a trip to Washington D.C.

Building an overpass on Caraway Road leading to ASU was one of the major topics discussed on the trip.

"It was Dr. Wyatt's vision about eight years ago when I first came here, that it would be much safer for students, and residents of Jonesboro if they didn't have to cross three sets of rail road tracks," said Jennus Barton, Vice President of the Department of Finance and Administration at Arkansas State University.

It is a move that could be beneficial to area residents.

“It would help me a whole lot, considering the long coal trains coming through here,” said Jonesboro resident Steven Foye.

"If there's a train, then you have to wait.  Sometimes you show up late for class and that gets you behind and you have to catch up," said ASU student Mary Rougeau.

The proposed overpass would connect one side of the ASU campus to the rest of Jonesboro, bypassing the railroad tracks.

Now, that vision is closer than ever to coming true.

"In hand today, we have a little over $15 million to go against the $17.2 million budget," said Barton.   

The city of Jonesboro is very supportive of this project.

“They see the benefits of the project, and they support it wholeheartedly.  I’ve asked them to consider providing $1 million from the city budget,” said Burton.

That would mean $500,000 in 2007 and $500,000 in 2008 from the city of Jonesboro.

Other funding for the overpass will come from the federal government.

“We will continue to work on the rest of the money.  That’s one of the major reasons I was in Washington D.C. for the past three days.  Everybody is very positive.  Everybody wants to see the project occur,” said Burton.

Burton says ground could be broken on this project by the fall of 2006.

After the project gets started, it should take about two years to complete.