Leader Blues

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

TOP STORY > >Access road goes one-way June 24

Leader senior staff writer

The frontage roads between Wildwood and Kiehl avenues along Highway 67/167 will be permanently converted to one-way overnight June 24 as work continues to widen the highway to three lanes north and three lanes south, according to Glenn
Bolick, a state Highway Department spokesman.

Landers Road will be one-way north and Warden Road will be one-way south.

Those two frontage roads already are one-way between McCain Boulevard and Wildwood, Bolick said, and despite misgivings expressed at the time by businesses located on those roads, it has worked out well for motorists and businesses alike, Bolick said.

The frontage roads between Wildwood and Kiehl, in addition to becoming one-way, will each have one lane temporarily shut down to aid in the overall construction of the project.

Converting Hwy. 67/167 to sixanes from I-40 to Redmond Road in Jacksonville could cost as much as $100 million, but it will just be used as a four-lane highway until all that work is done.

The first segment, from McCain Boulevard to Wildwood, included a flyover at the south end and an underpass at Five Mile Creek—now the site of Gander Mountain—to connect the frontage roads into a loop without motorists having to get onto the highway. That segment, completed in 2005, cost about $22.5 million, Bolick said.

The current work—a segment between I-40 to McCain Boulevard and a segment from Wildwood to Kiehl, cost another $42.3 million. It could be completed by next fall, Bolick said, meaning that all the construction between I-40 and Kiehl Avenue will be done. Also underway currently is the widening of northbound lanes of Hwy. 67/167 from the Northbelt Loop to Redmond Road, including construction of a new bridge over the Bayou Meto. The segment will cost $14 million, Bolick said.

“We’ll be done about this time next year,” Bolick said. “About that time we’ll be able to let bids on the southbound lanes.”
Once that is complete, the final segment, north and south, between Kiehl Avenue and the North Belt Loop will be widened. That work is slated for 2010, Bolick said. After that, the state Highway Department will open the full I-40 to Redmond Road stretch as a six-lane freeway, three each direction. Until then, only two lanes will be used each direction.