Public hearing for proposed mini-roundabouts in Piggott

Meeting held to discuss roundabout
(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)

PIGGOTT, AR (KAIT) - A Public Involvement Hearing hosted by the Arkansas Department of Transportation took place at the Piggott Community Center Tuesday night.

"We're here to discuss a future project," Smithee said. "We are looking at four different locations in Piggott. Three different intersections are being proposed as mini roundabouts. The fourth location is Highway 62 and 49. It's really just a traditional intersection improvement."

The purpose of the meeting is to get the opinion of the public.

"This is our chance to get public comment on our ideas," Smithee said. "We take these comments and we try to incorporate changes as needed. Any improvements that may be needed. Any likes and dislikes as much as we can. So, as we move forward with our full blown design process, we try to involve all of those things."

District Engineer with the Arkansas Department of Transportation Brad Smithee said the idea for the roundabouts came from a safety stand point.

"Three of these are more or less 90-degree curves here in Piggott," Smithee said. "In a farming environment, like we all live in in Northeast Arkansas, you have some real congestion in these areas. It's not like we have huge traffic engagements. When you have a tractor trailer coming through town, it's conflict points. Back in 2007, we did a study for this. It was recommended from a safety standpoint that we improve some of these areas and corners. Now here we are 11 years later, these things unfortunately take a lot of time to find funding and the mechanisms to move forward. Once we really started looking at the curves that need to be installed, it really became apparent that we would have to take a lot of property to build the curves like we needed to according to design standards. So, during this time these mini roundabouts have become a tool that is available. And a mini roundabout actually, has a mountable island in the center. I'll be concrete, but you can actually drive across it. So, it reduces the footprint. It has much less impact on the properties around it, but it still improves the turning radius of these locations. It's a lower speed. And again, these don't work in high volume or speed locations. But we believe they're going to be a really good tool."

Smithee said as you travel west on 62 headed to Corning, there are three 90-degree intersections on 62 in that direction.

One is near the new bridge, another is near an abandoned convenience store, and the third is beside the fire station and bank.

Smithee also emphasized this is just a "first meeting" and these plans are not set in stone.

"This is not the final design," Smithee said. "It's not everything inclusive. It's a high-level view concept drawing. And this allows us to take input about personal concerns and look at those and incorporate them into the final design."

Smithee said they'd like to get everyone's opinion and anyone who didn't get to come to the meeting is encouraged to contact them for more information.

For more information, contact the district office by clicking here or calling (870) 239-9511.

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