$350 in Highway Projects to Be Done in Arkansas

BROOKLAND, AR (KAIT) -- Stimulating the economy and improving Arkansas highways.  The state will get $351 million dollars from the federal government to do just that.  On Wednesday $24,000,000 of that funding was approved for 27 projects in the state.

There's another list of projects that could be contenders for the rest of the cash.  Projects on that list include everything from building new roads to putting up traffic lights.  One of the projects on the "maybe" list is a traffic light at the intersection of highway 49 and School Street in Brookland.

"We need a traffic light here.  We've been needing one for a long time," said Rick .

"It's just a little bit dangerous during traffic hours.  It definitely needs a red light," said Jenea Cotter.

The city of Brookland has already paid its share of the bill.  On the list, $108,000 is needed to finish the job and that money that could come from the stimulus package.

"The challenge for us won't be to spend the money it will be how to spend the money," said Glenn Bolick with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.

There are four projects that are already approved in Region 8.  One project that will be done is on Highway 226 and another on Highway 91.  These are both resurfacing projects to improve the existing roads.  That work will begin in the next couple of months.

"By March 10th we will not only have these first 27 projects going but we will also start pinpointing what kind of projects we're going to fund," said Bolick.

By this spring the work will start.

"What this is going to allow us to do in Arkansas is do three years worth of work over the next two years," said Bolick.

And it could mean more jobs for residents in these communities.

"It's going to put contractors to work. They're obviously going to need equipment they're going to need people out on the job this is going to trickle down," said Bolick.

In March they should start making some more of the decisions as to where the money will be spent.  At least half of the money has to be spent or contracted out by the July 8th bid letting.  The rest of the money has to be going to contract by March 10th of 2010.  All of the projects are focused on stimulating the economy.