JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The work on a major interstate in Region 8 that has been delayed due to weather is now set to start Thursday.
According to a media release from Jonesboro City Communications Director Bill Campbell, the upgrade work on I-555 in Jonesboro had been held up for about two weeks due to bad weather.
Officials said that after nearly 50 years of wear and tear, the road now known as Interstate 555 in Jonesboro would be getting a much-needed facelift.
The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) announced in February it will reconstruct approximately 5 miles of both north and southbound traffic lanes.
The project will stretch from Southwest Drive to Nettleton Avenue (State Highway 463).
“This project will reconstruct pavement that was installed nearly 50 years ago,” said Brad Smithee, ArDOT district engineer. “The lanes have reached a point where significant improvements just cannot be made without the needed reconstruction planned this spring.”
Now, a lane closure will be set up in the southbound lane Thursday and will continue on Friday before crews start again Monday. From there, initial work will be done to strengthen a 10-foot paved shoulder and extending it to 14 feet. The work will be done to support traffic as work is being done on the existing lanes.
Campbell said in the media release that the work will be done in two mile stretches and that it will eventually work on reconstructing nearly four miles of road in each direction in Jonesboro.
Jonesboro city officials originally said March 6 that the project would begin Tuesday, March 10.
According to a news release, work will begin on the southbound sections between the Nettleton and Southwest Drive intersections.
Traffic will be reduced to one lane as the shoulder is built up to accommodate traffic.
“In the long term, this is great for Jonesboro,” Mayor Harold Perrin was quoted as saying. “In the short term, it will require patience and cause some delays in traffic.”
He encouraged motorists to leave earlier for their destinations and to drive safely.
In addition to the lane reconstruction, ArDOT plans to resurface several bridges.
“We will also see new surface treatments installed on the overpasses at Willow Road, Red Wolf Boulevard, South Caraway Road, Harrisburg Road, and Southwest Drive,” he said.
With the improvements come lane closures and traffic shifts, ArDOT said. Work will begin in the southbound lanes then continue to the northbound lanes.
“The existing northbound lanes were constructed in the early 1970s and the southbound lanes followed in the mid-1970s,” Smithee said. “The new, improved lanes will meet all Interstate standards and provide decades of better travel for motorists.”
At the time, Smithee estimated the daily traffic count at between 36-38,000.
“Unfortunately, this project will be very intrusive to traffic,” he said in November. "It will close one side or the other in direction, there will be cross-overs and we will put one-way of traffic in sections of this highway.”