JOHNSON [KFSM] - Johnson Mill Boulevard opened to travelers last week after two years of construction.
Mayor Buddy Curry said once the crews lay the final layer of asphalt and paint new stripes, the speed limit will increase from 25 miles-per-hour to 40. He said he expects the finishing touches to be done in the next week. The mayor said the new road brings new opportunities for Johnson.
"I can already see that the traffic flow is so much better now with the light systems we have...this is going to totally change this side of town for Johnson," Curry said.
He said he hopes the road will encourage more businesses to open in the area, because more traffic may mean more customers.
"This is Johnson's future, right here on this new road," The mayor said.
Shurelle Webele manages the Dance & More store on the new road, and said customers are ready to get in and out of the store with ease.
"One thing we were a little bit worried about the road, but people would come in and just be like hey, when is this going to be done, and so we are super excited that's done now," Webele said.
Wes Sharp, co-owner of the UFC Gym on Johnson Mill Boulevard, said the traffic congestion the last few months actually improved his gym's business.
"It was really kind of an advertisement for us, for people just to drive by really slowly and kind of get a good look," Sharp said, "And the number one answer that we get to the question how did you hear about us is, I was driving by."
He said they chose to open the gym in January of 2014 in the shopping center just off I-49 in Johnson because of its central location between Fayetteville and Springdale.
"I think we are going to see a big growth, not just in our gym, but in the whole community," Sharp said.
The new road begins just west of 48th Street in Johnson, goes through the city, past Don Tyson Parkway and ends just north of Chapman Street in Springdale.