Highway 67 Update

CORNING (KAIT) The progress meeting of the Highway 67 Corridor Coalition brought forth a lot of progress for 67 in Missouri and very little if any for Arkansas.

Don House, Coalition Member, "We believe that it's going to take more than a generation to get a highway built from Walnut Ridge to the Missouri line that is going to meet interstate specs."

For years the Highway 67 Corridor Coalition has dreamed of an interstate highway running between Little Rock and the Missouri border.

For now it still is a dream.

House, "It's been many many years getting from Little Rock to Newport to Walnut Ridge. We're not there yet to Walnut Ridge but we're getting closer. And it's enough where we can see it happening now.

Getting closer may be a bit of an understatement since the highway pretty much stops just north of Newport. But Joe Barnett from the Arkansas Highway Department says progress is being made.

Barnett, "In 2009 from 226 down to Newport we should be able to open 67 traffic will go across 226 back to the existing ramp."

Although most meeting attendees agree it would be nice to have an interstate they've agreed that would take to long so what they're probably going to do is go ahead with the five lane road similar to the one from Walnut Ridge to Pocahontas.

The coalition meeting today in corning had a cross section of county and city officials and business men and women from both Arkansas and Missouri.

The biggest issue the group voted on was the change from interstate to a super rural road plan from Pocahontas to the Missouri line.

House, "We can build this much faster and we can build it at half the cost."

And of course cost is the big thing. Joe Barnett told the group that the cost of asphalt has gone up nearly 100 percent since last year and that means many new projects may just have to wait.