Traffic congestion should be less of a problem for drivers traveling through Springdale, now that the Don Tyson Interchange is open.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Monday (July 7) at 1:30 p.m. for the interchange. The project consists of the new exit 70 on and off ramps of Interstate 49 and an overpass.
The $23 million project opened to drivers after remarks from Scott Bennett with the Highway Department, Highway Commissioner Dick Trammel and city of Springdale officials.
"In my time driving, I've gotten a few speeding tickets due to congestion and trying to rush from point a to point b," said Jacob McKinney, a local driver. "Hopefully, this will cut all that down."
"We are really excited that this will shorten our trip getting home from up North by a few minutes," said Christa Culwell, a local driver.
Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse said the Don Tyson Interchange has been the city's number one infrastructure project since he became mayor in Jan. 2009 when some of the design work was in its beginning stages.
The project is expected to attract new construction plans and businesses.
"We believe it’s going to be one of those projects that the return on investment is demonstrated sooner rather than later," Sprouse said. "We’ve already had a (Walmart) Neighborhood Market announced at this intersection as well as a Casey’s."
"We know there will be more to follow, not only at the interchange, but also with the improvements we are doing to 56 street across I- 49,” Sprouse said.
The $23 million project was mostly paid by taxpayer money.
"I've got to say, the taxpayers of Springdale paid $20 million of that," Sprouse said. "We thought we were going to pay for the whole thing but late in the project we were able to get $3 million of STPA federal highway money that we were very thankful for."
"But the residents of Springdale really stepped up and we paid our way on this one," he said.
The interchange opened a month and a half ahead of schedule. It also came in under budget.
"Construction started last May, so it was just a little over a year of construction," said Alan Pugh, Director of Engineering. "That's very good for this project. We are actually about 30 to 40 working days ahead of schedule."