Wednesday, January 07, 2015

EDITORIAL >> Hwy. 67/167 needs funding

Hwy. 67/167 in Jacksonville could see more major improvements that would ease traffic congestion, especially at North First Street and Vandenberg Boulevard near Little Rock Air Force Base.

Plans call for an underpass or overpass near Vandenberg and overpasses at Gregory Street and Madden Road, along with one-way access roads. This would be in addition to the widening to six lanes that is already underway at a cost of nearly $200 million, including resurfacing between Jacksonville and Cabot.

The latest plan would benefit Little Rock Air Force Base, where congestion at rush hour is among the worst in the state. Jacksonville would attract new businesses that came after similar work was completed along the highway in Sherwood and North Little Rock. A fly-under in Sherwood was added, and the access roads were made one way to remove dangerous yields. That area has seen many new businesses ever since, bringing in hundreds of jobs and millions in tax revenue for those cities and the state.

Jacksonville and Cabot will also benefit if area legislators and incoming Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson and a Republican-controlled legislature find a way for the Highway Department to pay for these road improvements.

That’s a big question mark right now, but economic development and road safety cannot wait. Call your senators and representatives  when  the legislature is in session next week.