Update: Highway 67 Expansion

In the near future the Highway 67 project will make way for more traffic and easier access to cities like Dallas, Little Rock, and St. Louis.

Currently, construction continues on the 34 mile stretch between Newport and Hoxie-Walnut Ridge.

At least for now it's the end of the road, just on the other side of Newport. Orange and white barricades block traffic from further travel, but on the other side of those barricades, construction continues upwards towards Tuckerman where it cuts off.

According to the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, construction is finished all the way up to Highway 37, but the completed portion of the highway remains closed.

"Unfortunately we can't open it because highway 37 is not capable of carrying the traffic back over to the old highway 67," said Joe Barnett with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department.

However, work continues to connect that portion to Highway 226 just on the west side of cash.

This bridge on 226 is already open allowing traffic to travel over the future Highway 67.

"Work will continue for the next two to two and a half years, and at that point we'll be able to open the next section, up to highway 226," said Barnett.

However, the full stretch between Highway 226 and the completed section in Hoxie-Walnut Ridge could be years down the road.

"Hopefully in the Spring, in the next few months, we'll be able to open the next contract, which again will be the grating or the dirt work from highway 226 up to highway 230," said Barnett.

And while it's a slow moving process, it's helping in cities who already use the highway daily.

"It get's the through traffic out of their downtown areas and helps congestion, improves safety in those cities. It also improves travel time for those who are not wanting to use those cities as a destination," said Barnett.

We are told every mile of the new Highway 67 costs the state around $5.5 million, and if completed today, the entire Highway 67 connection from Newport to Hoxie-Walnut Ridge would cost upwards of $100 million.

And we are told the State is now considering changes to Highway 226 that would make the connection from Jonesboro to the new Highway 67 faster.

They will be holding a public meeting in Cash - next Tuesday night, December 11,  from 4 til 7 p-m at the Cash City Hall.

Everyone is invited to voice their thoughts and concerns which could help the State plan possible changes in that area.

Story ideas or comments?  Email Will at wcarter@kait8.com