New Section of Highway 62 in Prairie Grove to be Dedicated

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PRAIRIE GROVE (KFSM)- The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) along with Prairie Grove leaders will celebrate a new section of highway 62.

The ribbon cutting ceremony will be Wednesday (Oct. 29) at 10:45 a.m. at the City Hall parking lot.

Event though, the ribbon will be cut, drivers have been using the new road for about a month. Larry Oelrich, public works director, said there have been mixed reactions.

“There’s always the worries about what it will do to the business community downtown,” Oelrich said.

The city is expecting to get sales tax numbers in the next month or two to see if it did hurt businesses owners in the downtown area.

“But, it’s also been met with a lot of really happy people who’ll be able to pull out of an intersection without having to wait five minutes,” Oelrich said. “So it’s really helped for downtown traffic as far as getting around.”

The 4.7 mile stretch was built for safety reasons.

Between 2001 and 2003, there were 97 accidents including several fatalities, according to Oelrich. He said those numbers should go down with the new highway .

“It’s been under study since 1991, so this has been a long process,” he said. “The whole goal was to get some of the heavier traffic out of the downtown area, to make it a little safer, get trucks off the main highway, which downtown is very congestive and there have been many accidents,” Oelrich said.

GPS hasn’t been updated, which has confused some drivers, he said. Oelrich isn’t sure when the GPS system will be updated.

The $30 million project took three years to complete.

3 comments

  • Matt

    The addition is a nightmare. There are three new stop lights on it that turn red for the main hwy as soon as someone from the side road pulls up to the light. All three lights stop long lines of traffic immediately for that one car on the side road. We went from having 1 stop light to having 3 on this 4.7 mile side road. They also really should have put a right hand turn lane in so that you could turn to PG without waiting for all the traffic going straight in front of you. If there was a right hand turn lane it would have greatly lowered the congestion problem that we are now seeing at the turn to go into PG. I think everyone knows the real reason for the addition is because of people with deep pockets who are investing in the new subdivisions surrounding our town. Also they took out the bridge near the school which has caused multiple problems for school children on the other side of the bridge. All in all they spent $30 million to make traffic worse and more difficult for the people who live there.

    • ZX

      As someone who doesn’t live in Prairie Grove but drives through it occasionally, I’m happy the bypass was built. But it sounds you have some valid concerns. I would contact the state highway department regarding the signal timing and the right turn lane. Just remember that it is the state highway department we’re talking about here. They aren’t known for being sharpest knives in the drawer.

  • Jasper

    Agree with Matt with the traffic turning too soon that most of time you have no way to stop in time with 55 MPH speed especially during wet weather days. Some argue that you should slow down but the traffic flow is going average 50-55 MPH or little bit more. It is really not really up to you sometimes. If you lucky stop in time then the one might rare end you. The traffic lights should be readjusted the timing of change from green -> yellow to red to allow traffic enough time to stop safely.

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