LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — Construction crews have begun work on a stretch of Highway 67 in Jacksonville--the plan is to widen the highway to six lanes as part of a much bigger project that goes beyond Arkansas.
The additional lanes are to be constructed along the 2.5 mile stretch between Main Street (Exit 9) and Vandenberg Boulevard (Exit 11).
The construction will require a temporary detour of John Harden Drive, the Arkansas Department of Transportation said in an information release.
Many more detours and road closures will be necessary in the future as well, but it's a small sacrifice in the bigger picture--which is Future Interstate 57, which will effectively link Little Rock to Chicago, connecting Interstate 67 to the already existing Interstate 57, which currently ends in Missouri.
The project is years in the making and included previous lane expansions on Highway 67 through Sherwood and Cabot. This Jacksonville stretch will conclude the Little Rock Metro portion of the project.
"This part [of the project] was going to be the most difficult of all...because it required the most infrastructure work and so forth. So, they kind of held off till the end for this part of it," Jeff Elmore, Mayor of Jacksonville, said.
"We're looking forward to it being finished. I mean, it's going to be a while, but once it's done, it's going to be incredible. It'll be a great change and asset to our town and make things a whole lot smoother and more accessible," Elmore said.
Elmore said the project is expected to reach completion by 2027.
Weather permitting, crews will close John Harden Drive from Braden Street to John Hardin Drive on Tuesday, June 6 through Friday, June 30, allowing crews to perform drainage work along John Harden Drive. Business access along the closed portion of John Harden Drive is available from John Hardin Drive.
Detoured traffic will take Braden Street to John Hardin Drive to continue south on John Harden Drive. Detoured traffic requiring access to Main Street may take Braden Street to Marshall, ARDOT said.
Detours will be signed, and can be seen on the ARDOT detour map: NR 23-154-A if additional information is needed.
Traffic will be directed with message boards, detour signs, and barricades. ARDOT advises motorists to be cautious when driving in the work zone and reminds to watch for slower traffic speeds. Areas near the Interstate may experience noise during night hours as well.
The project also includes improvements at the James Street interchange (Exit 10A), the Gregory Street interchange (Exit 10B), the Vandenburg Boulevard interchange (Exit 11), and conversion of the frontage roads from two-way to one-way.
More information on the $145.2 million project is available at ConnectingArkansasProgram.com.