Highway 63 Bypass Work to Be Completed Soon

January 14, 2004--Posted 6:35 p.m.

Jonesboro, AR--If you drive the highway 63 bypass around Jonesboro then you know the road is full of those orange construction barrels. Those barrels have the highway down to one lane in both directions for more than a mile, causing plenty of traffic problems.

Joe Barnett of the Arkansas Highway Department says, "We've got some concrete pavement that's deteriorated over the years, through it's life, and it needs some attention and maintenance because of failures."

Once the new concrete is poured it takes seven days for it to strengthen and once a hole is cut, the work crews are not allowed to leave the hole over night because of safety concerns. That's why the lanes are closed for so more than a week.

"During peak periods there's some capacity problems, and we've had to make some short transitions on the on and off ramps to correct some failures that have occurred in those areas," says Barnett.

And it's those on and off ramps that seem to be causing most of the traffic trouble. Because where there's usually an acceleration lane, the barrels are protecting concrete work and drivers are having to merge quickly into one lane of traffic.

Capt. Mike Coy of the Arkansas Highway Patrol says, "Pace yourself so you can merge in or you may just have to stop or almost stop. A lot of folks are in a hurry and they pull out in front of others and that seems to be where we get most of our accidents."

The good news is, weather permitting, all the barrels should be gone within two weeks.