Troubled Intersection Causing Delays

December 22, 2004 -- Posted at 6:00 p.m. CST

JONESBORO- For more than a year the traffic along Stadium has been increasing as new business and a new mall have found their home in Jonesboro.  With that has come the addition of new redlights and a lot more traffic.  Now one intersection is being named as a problem area, as motorists sit for as much as five to seven minutes waiting to turn.  The intersection is at Highway 63 and Highway 49 (Stadium Dr.).  The problem is occuring at the top of the offramp that sits parallel to the NEA Medical Center.

Motorists say the constant waiting to turn left and even right is getting old.  Jim Hipp of Jonesboro says, "I've got to get across three lanes and I can't.  This is rediculous.  It's a hazard and has been for years.  Every since it was created it has been a problem.  It's a bottleneck."

The problem is a series of red lights just past the off-ramp.  These are causing traffic to pile up as much as a mile at times.  "There's too many traffic lights.  It needs to be changed where this light stays green longer because when people come over the hill the traffic backs up and you can't turn left," said John Eddington of Jonesboro.

Others think they need another red light, at least in the case of turning left.  "It needs to have a traffic light or a turn signal to give us the right away on occassion, because at a certain time of day it takes forever to make a left right here..or to go straight across if you want to get on Parker road," said Barbara Adams of Marked Tree, "It's terrible."

So with all of the concern we talked to the director of the city's transportation study.  He tells us that eventually Highway 63 is going to become Interstate 555.  Even then both of the roads are technically state roads, he says that's why the city is already taking action.

"We have requested to do a study on those intersections to see how the improvements should be done," said Muhammad Ulkarim.  He also tells K8 the solution to the problem is not a traffic light, but some other alternative means of rerouting traffic.  He suggests that one option would be to have right and left hand turning lanes so that all moving traffic can move more fluidly.  He also thinks "we need to add a median so the traffic will be seperated."

All are things the city is looking into, but they have to work with the state before any actions can happen.  Ulkarim says hopefully when the study comes back from the state, there will be more information to look at and more options on what to do to improve the intersection.