New route in the works between Walnut Ridge and Corning

WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - After almost three years of going back and forth with having to agree on a new hwy 67 route to the Missouri state line, a compromise has been made. The New route will use most of the existing highway 67 and create a bypass around Pocahontas on the east side, and a stretch of road that will lead to a bypass around Corning on the west side.

"We expect announcements over the next year of multiple industrial developments along this route," said Walnut Ridge Mayor Don House.

With new developments in the work comes anticipated heavy traffic.  House said taking care of it now is important before it becomes a problem in the future.

"With all those plans in mind, we're trying to get ready for that," said House. "Some companies have already made some big investments in properties along this line."

Although, it took nearly three years to come up with a compromise from all the cities along highway 67, the new proposed route is much affordable and timely than what was originally discussed.

"We're building only 37 miles instead of 57 miles, and we're building it from Pocahontas to the Missouri state line," said House.  "We're following the existing route except for minor adjustments and the bypasses around Corning and around Pocahontas."

House said there's a lot more to this new proposal than just accommodating the amount of drivers who will be traveling on the highway.

"It's for safety, environmental impact, economic development and industrial growth," said House.

There's not a lot of money for the project now, but House said a new highway bill could fund the project much sooner than anticipated If it's approved.

"There are ways at which we may be able to begin the building of this project through some influence on the bill."

House said they are waiting for approval signatures from Searcy city officials, and plan to send the proposal to Governor Beebe and the Highway Commission to approve.

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