Street Expansion is Good for the City but Hectic for Drivers

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) -- Expansion along Harrision Street in Batesville will be a cause of concern for many along the next few years as travel space is shortened and construction is underway.

Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department Engineer Lyndal Waits said because of the heavy traffic flow the city has needed this expansion for a while.  While the project should be beneficial to everyone, that doesn't mean everyone will be happy about it in the beginning.

"There's going to be some folks that aren't necessarily looking forward to some things on the front end and I know that there are some headaches and things that'll probably happen.  This is a major thoroughfare and on average there are approximately 24,000 cars a day," said Batesville Chamber of Commerce President Jonah Shumate.

The plans show to upgrade the road by widening lanes and adding an extra lane.

"It has become very congested and we are upgrading it to a five lane facility with a turn lane and two travel lanes in each direction," said Lyndal Waits.

During construction some changes are being made to the traffic flow.  Harrison will change from a four lane road to a two lane road with a turning lane in the middle.   When this project is finished it will be very beneficial to the city.

"I think 2008 is going to be a great year for Batesville.  We will have much more for the city after this," said Shumate.

The project is expected to be finished by late summer of 2010.  It covers 2.76 miles from St. Louis Street in Batesville to Gap Road.  Also included in this project are the improvement of traffic lights along Harrison Street.