FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — A big construction project is coming to the River Valley.
The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) announced it will be widening Highway 45 between Highway 71 and Highway 255 in Fort Smith.
Crews will begin the project in about two years. ARDOT says it plans to widen the three-mile stretch of Highway 45 from two to five lanes, making it more convenient for drivers.
"The project is going to take up a narrow two-lane road that’s in a lot of distress and be widened to a five-way highway adding some traffic signals along the route," said Chad Adams, ARDOT District Engineer.
On Tuesday (Aug. 27) ARDOT held a public meeting that gave residents the opportunity to ask questions and offer comments about the upcoming project.
Adams says they showed community members about 60% of the design and after the meeting, they will make adjustments if needed.
"There’s a lot of industry along this corridor with a lot of truck delivers and rail traffic so taking those into account and trying to provide better turning radius for the trucks," Adams said.
River Valley resident Dustin Collyge works for a transportation company and says the project has his support.
"We have about 80-90 trucks a day that pass through that intersection and we’ve seen pretty bad accidents there over the years, and we’ve tried to get the road widen and a stoplight put," Collyge said.
Construction for the project will start around March 2021 and will take about a year and a half to complete.
Collyge says he wishes it would start sooner but he's just glad it's now in the works.
"It's very congested, it’s in bad shape," Collyge said. "There’s a lot of potholes that they are constantly repairing. It definitely needs some work and I think widening it to five lanes will be a big improvement."
ARDOT is partnering with the city of Fort Smith and the Sebastian County Judge's Office for this project. It is unknown at this time how much it will cost.
Although it may be up to two years until drivers can see any construction begin, ARDOT wants to remind residents how hard they are working to get it done.