Leader Blues

Friday, October 16, 2009

TOP STORY >> Road building on track with more funding

By JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader senior staff writer

With the completion of an .85-mile stretch of state Hwy. 107 running from Jacksonville-Cato Road to Bayou Meto in the summer of 2011, all of Hwy. 107 from the Arkansas River to Bayou Meto will have been widened, according to David Nilles, a Highway Department spokesman.

Tom Lindsey Contractor, Inc. of Conway was the apparent low bidder at $2.9 million Wednesday, Nilles said. The job is being paid for by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Currently under construction, but not paid for by stimulus funds, is the widening of state Hwy. 107 from Bearpaw Drive to
Brockington Road.

BROCKINGTON WIDENING

Brockington Road, from Maryland to Kiehl, will be widened at an estimated cost of $5.8 million, with $4.6 million of it in stimulus funds expected to be obligated next month.

“Right-of-way purchase is about half done,” according to Metroplan’s Casey Covington, and utility relocation should begin in December. Then construction will proceed.

The low bids opened for 17 highway jobs Wednesday amounted to about $66.6 million, Nilles said. Seven of those jobs will be paid for primarily by stimulus funds totaling about $40 million.

The Highway Department has obligated about $160 million of its $351 million share of highway stimulus funds, with about $14.2 million of that earmarked for central Arkansas.

NOT GRAHAM ROAD

Projects in Sherwood, Beebe, Jacksonville and unincorporated parts of Pulaski, Lonoke and White counties also were originally slated for stimulus funds, but the Graham Road project in Jacksonville was not “shovel ready” and was dropped from the list of projects this time around. It involves widening the road to four lanes from Loop Road to Oak Street, a distance of about 1.14 miles.

A new interchange for Hwy. 5 and Hwy. 67/167 in Cabot, slated for the northwest quadrant of that interchange, will help alleviate congestion there, according to Cabot Mayor Eddie Joe Williams, but it is not being funded from the stimulus money, according to the state’s list of stimulus projects.

LEOPARD CREEK BRIDGE

Stimulus money — $963,000 worth — will be spent to replace the undersized, outdated Leopard Creek Bridge over County Road 67 in northern Pulaski County, according to Nilles. It is located south of Olmstead.

Kingbridge Enterprises, Inc. won the job, which must be completed by June 3, 2011, he said.

The old bridge will continue to serve until the new one is completed. It will then be converted for bicycle use, Nilles said.

The existing bridge has two 10-foot lanes and no shoulder, while the new bridge will have two 12-foot lanes and two six-foot shoulders.

It will be built over two box culverts beneath the bridge. “It’s functionally obsolete,” said Nilles, referring to the old bridge, but it is not dangerous or deficient.

LONOKE PROJECTS

Redstone Construction Group, Inc. will get $523,000 in stimulus funds to resurface 2.8 miles of Hwy. 70 East from the Pulaski County line .

Also in Lonoke County, four miles of Hwy. 165 from the Pulaski County line to Scott will be resurfaced, adjoining 3.25 miles being resurfaced in Pulaski County. Both sections will be done by Cranford Construction Co. for about $1.2 million.

Several resurfacing projects on Hwy. 167 in White County, north of Beebe, have been let.

Still to be let is a bid to construct and install a traffic signal at Hwy. 67B, Hwy. 31 and Hwy. 367 in Beebe, estimated at $130,000.