New Overpasses Coming to Jonesboro

by Kayce Wilson
Delta Digital News Service

JONESBORO — The Jonesboro City Council-approved plans for new overpasses off Highland Drive and Nettleton Avenue will commence construction after July 2018.

Arkansas Department of Transportation Area 10 Engineer Brad Smithee said the financial aspect was the main reason for the wait.

“Discussion with Jonesboro, BNSF Railway, (Arkansas Department of Transportation) and other parties involved have been around for a number of years regarding this project,” Smithee said. “More direct project developments began when a funding mechanism was identified and the city of Jonesboro received a (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant for $1.2 million to perform environmental and design work on the project back in 2014.”

Smithee said the overpass will bring many changes to the community, many of which would affect safety.

“They would increase access to industry, increase safety for school-age children and increase the traffic flow that is currently congested by the railroad crossings,” Smithee said.

Aside from the businesses affected, the Nettleton School District could see some changes in the near future.

Nettleton graduate Jacquelyn Young said she believes construction could require more police supervision.

“I think that the overpasses will help after-school traffic and provide a new way to get around the school, but it also might make the traffic before school more hectic,” Young said.

Since the project is very complex and in a populated area of town, Smithee said there is not an exact time frame for completion. They must consider the cost of construction items and the number of possible construction days to figure up a bid. This is then paired with a building schedule figured up with a construction cost so that they can determine how many workers they will need.

The new overpasses will not only cut back on train and vehicular incidents, but will cut back on the traffic around the tracks.