Future I-555 Making Progress

OCTOBER 10, 2006 -- POSTED AT 9:30 P.M. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- U.S. Highway 63 is getting closer and closer to becoming the future Interstate 555, giving many drivers a smoother ride. Five interchanges are the only thing holding back the new interstate status and soon 4 of those 5 projects should be complete. The Arkansas State Highway Department says just bear with them, it's progressing each day.

"The traveling public needs to realize that we're still making changes. They're still some lane shifts that are going to be involved and some two-way traffic on one side that will be shifted, so we would encourage them to observe the traffic control that's present, slow down and be patient with us, because soon we'll be able to have all this work done and travel on an interstate type highway," says Joe Barnett, a District Engineer for the State Highway Department.

As you drive down the highway, change is evident. The Highway 63 interchange at Interstate 55 is already open and should be completely finished in the next few weeks. The same goes for the interchange at the City of Gilmore. The Highway 118 interchange at Tyronza is partially open and should be completely done in just a few months.  The Highway 149 interchange at Marked Tree is set to open within the next week. With that progress in place, drivers could begin to see changes very soon.

"You will most likely see some adjustments in the speed limit. That may be the biggest thing that the traveling public may see is that the speed limit will be raised, expect in that area where the construction is ongoing," says Barnett.

By the end of the year, the construction should only be at one interchange at Highway 135. Work there just began a few months ago. This project will be the last to finish, with a completion date set for the end of 2007.