CENTERTON, Ark. (KFSM) — Centerton mother Kayla Batts said getting her kids to and from school, when she has to use Highway 102, one of the busiest roads in Northwest Arkansas, can be frustrating.
"It takes probably about 15 minutes to even get out of the stop sign," Batts said about sitting at a stop sign waiting to turn onto Highway 102. "I have lived in Centerton for three years now. For the three years, I have lived here, it's been like this and it's only got worse. I've been in the car for two hours before, the traffic being so bad."
Highway 102 is a main corridor to and from Interstate 49. For most drivers, it is the only option to get to Centerton.
As the area continues to grow, so does the traffic.
Centerton Mayor Bill Edwards estimates the population to be around 18,000. He said he hopes the 2020 census county will reflect that.
New businesses are popping up all over the area and new homes are coming in, changing the look of the area.
Centerton does have a small town charm, something city leaders hope to keep while putting their attention on the growth they are experiencing.
"There's so much going on now. We need to get a direction. How do we want to see Centerton in 12 years, 20 years?" Edwards said. "How do we do that? we've had public meetings with the citizens. We've had a lot of public input. We will continue to have public input."
The mayor and the city's planning department is already working on a master street plan. They are looking at where roads could be constructed in their town to run alongside busy Highway 102. They are also working with an outside consulting firm to help in the search.
"We are looking for different parallel routes that run east, west corridors across town and to get people that live past Centerton to Decatur, Gravette, further to the west," said Dianne Morrison who is working in the Centerton City Planning Department.
The plan would need to be budgeted for. There are no answers to extra roads just yet and it is still years away before the master plan would be put in place.
"It's for the year 2040," Morrison said. "It's hard to think that far in the future but when you look at how this area has grown and see some of the paces like Bentonville, Rogers, what they have with transportation. We have to think out where those connections can be."
Areas that are rural and sit past Centerton could soon see growth as well.
"We have some businesses showing some interest out to the west of Main Street. Over time, it's all going to fill in. It's coming rapidly," Edwards said.
Centerton city leaders also said getting an accurate count on population in the 2020 census will be vital to funding for any future road projects.
This is the first year people can fill out the census online in addition to a mailout form.
Centerton city leaders said they will help people at City Hall who live in the city to get online if they need access to a computer or the internet.