I-49 Construction Resumes After Settlement Reached

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Work resumed on the Interstate 49 construction project at Chaffee Crossing in Sebastian County Wednesday after authorities worked out a tentative agreement to lift a temporary restraining order.

Construction was halted on the section of I-49 between Barling and Highway 71 last week when Judge Mike Fitzhugh granted a temporary restraining order, which also shut down a quarry at Chaffee Crossing. Landowner David Harp sought the order, saying they were trespassing on his land.

Harp and the FCRA board met Wednesday afternoon and reached a settlement instead of going back to court. The judge lifted the restraining order.

"I am tickled to death, I think it's a fair settlement,” said Ivy Owen, FCRA executive director. “The FCRA is getting a quotable settlement out of it. We’re able to now go down the road and do the work we’re intended to do."

Harp says 13 of the acres he owned are being sold to the FCRA for $20,000 an acre, totaling $286,000.

“This makes me very happy,” Harp said. “I can't tell you, it's been hard on everybody. It's hard on the workers not working, it’s hard on the people out there and it's hard on me."

Both parties say they are happy to see construction workers back at the site again, making a living.

"It's great to have APCA back working on the highway because that's ultimately why we’re here to begin with,” Owen said.

Owen says the portion of the interstate where construction was delayed by the restraining order was six miles long. The work was stopped for 12 days.

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