July 15, 2004 at 11:12 PM CDT - Updated July 2 at 9:30 PM
JULY 15, 2004 -- Posted at: 7:05pm CDT
JONESBORO, AR - We know the smell of asphalt is synonymous with summer. However, drivers in Jonesboro are wondering when they'll get some relief from construction congestion.
Work at Highway 63 on the west side of town began in the spring of 2002. A few months later, work was started on widening Johnson Avenue and Dan Avenue.
Carroll Carr has seen many changes looking out from his front yard on Dan Avenue over the last 40 years. Lately though he's witnessed changes 'in' his front yard.
"Just growing pains is what it is," said Carr.
His mailbox has been moved, the edge of his property has been torn up for more than a year and he doesn't even try to get out of his driveway anymore.
Carr added, "I built a road behind my house to get in and out, because I knew this was coming."
Just west of Carr's home, workers are laying asphalt on the approach to a new bridge that will take traffic on Dan Avenue over Highway 63. They are also moving dirt to form an access road and 4 interchanges.
"You can't hardly cross this intersection up here on school days. It's just really crowded," explained Carr. "This will make a lot of difference."
Traffic could be shifted up onto the bridge within the next couple of months.
Joe Barnett, District 10 Engineer for the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, said, "There will be a period of time that there will be some temporary connections, so that we can tear the old intersection out, and then after that's done we will put traffic on the ramps that they will use from now on."
A signal and intersection will be constructed on the west side of the interchange. Drivers approaching from Bono will go under Highway 63 and curve around to the traffic light, which will make turning onto Dan Avenue safer. The widening of Dan Avenue and Johnson Avenue east of the interchange is on schedule overall. The intersection at Gee Street.. and the railroad crossing near Riceland Foods will both be shifted.
Barnett added, "There's a lot more movement on Dan Avenue that there is on Gee, so we're gonna change that to where these folks square up and the through movement then will be like this."
Carroll Carr knows Jonesboro's growth forces projects like these to occur. He just hopes he has some yard left to mow on the other side of his ditch when this project is complete.