3-Month Project Closes Parts of Hwy 71

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Cones are up and work has started along Highway 71 in Sebastian County as crews work to install a wire rope safety fence. That fence is being installed in the median of Highway 71 from Greenwood to Fort Smith.

Starting Tuesday, the Highway Department says drivers should expect to see lane closures.

Chad Adams, a District 4 Construction Engineer with the Highway Department, said the fence is going in to better protect drivers.

"They are needed because in places where there's a narrow median, there is a higher potential for vehicles to cross the median and have a head on collision," Adams said.

He also explained that the safety fencing is designed to also keep vehicles from rebounding back into traffic.

"It's designed to catch the vehicle and bring it to a stop," Adams said.

The safety fencing is part of a project to install 500 miles of cable barriers within the state by 2016.

While crews work to install the cable barrier, they will have the inside lanes of traffic closed, according to the Highway Department. However, Adams explained they've scheduled lane closures around times of heavy traffic. All northbound lanes, headed from Greenwood into Fort Smith, will be open from 6 - 10 in the morning. The southbound lanes will be open as usual from 3 - 8 as drivers head home.

Construction is expected to wrap up by June, according to the Highway Department.