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.