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Highways discussed; Mayor works with ArDOT

Mayor works with ArDOT by Annette Beard | June 6, 2023 at 9:45 a.m.

Two of the main thoroughfares through the city of Pea Ridge are state highways. Those two highways, Arkansas Highway 94 (Curtis Avenue and West Pickens Road) and Arkansas Highway 72 (Slack Street, North Curtis Avenue and East Pickens Road), also comprise two of the busiest intersections in the city.

Mayor Nathan See has been in communication with representatives from the Arkansas Department of Transportation and recently met with Jared Wiley, chief engineer for pre-construction.

See said he showed Wiley and his assistant some of the concerns about traffic and roads in the city and shared information about the rapid growth.

"We talked about the number of homes being built and the number of vehicles added to our traffic system," See said. "We gave them correct information to know that we do need to do something with the intersection and Hwy. 72."

See said there are concerns about traffic congestion and safety with the intersections of Weston Street with both Hwy. 94 at the north end and Hwy. 72 on the south end as well as the intersection of Hwy. 72 with It'll Do Road on the west side of town. See said traffic counters were installed as a result of the discussion.

Part of the study will also be a classified study not only measuring volume, but kinds of vehicles -- motorcycles, cars, trucks, semi-trailers -- are coming to and passing through town.

"We will gather that information and with the data, come up with proposals for the intersections," See said.

"Our four-way stops are already classified for improvements," See said.

He is negotiating with state officials to make State Hwy. 72 continue east on Lee Town Road instead of turning north up North Curtis Avenue and then east on East Pickens Road.

"Since we're negotiating making Lee Town road 72, they probably don't want to put money into downtown," See said, explaining that state highway officials will do a study of the pavement structure of Lee Town Road before agreeing to add it to the highway system.

He said the city has also offered to take over Arkansas Highway 265 (Hayden Road) in exchange for the city's portion of paying for an upgrade in the intersections of Weston Street, West Pickens Road and Hayden Road where a "peanut roundabout" is proposed to alleviate the congestion on the "dog-leg" intersection, See said.

See explained that the projects may take as long as four years for completion with design and construction taking time after approval.

"In partnership with ArDOT, in exchange we will take over Hwy. 265 all the way to the state line," See said of the roundabout.

He said roundabout intersections are statistically proven to decrease risk, reduce speed and are safer than lighted intersections.

See said that Wiley coming to town was beneficial to the city.

"They went out and they saw what is happening here. It helped them understand how our city is thriving and growing, something they don't see from Little Rock," See said, adding that it was Wiley's first visit to Pea Ridge.

"The more people you have come through your city, the more tax revenue is available because they stop at boutiques, restaurants, gas stations," See said. "There are lot of people who travel simply for the scenery and like to stop in smaller communities and stop at state and national parks."

"I think there's a lot of need for outside recreational spaces. People want to be able to go to places where they can enjoy the outdoors.

"Northwest Arkansas is thriving in that and we want to make sure we can be a part of that," See said, adding that he hopes to capitalize on that as well as the visitors to the Pea Ridge National Military Park.

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