Bypass to open "in coming weeks"

Workers of contractor Dumey Construction remove dirt from the west embankment at the junction of Walcott Road and the Highway 412 Bypass. According to Brad Smithee, District 10 engineer for the Arkansas Department of Transportation, the bypass project is in its final “cleanup” stages. He said the plan called for the road to be open by the end of September.

The western part of the U.S. Highway 412 Bypass is nearing completion.

According to Brad Smithee, District 10 engineer for the Arkansas Department of Transportation, paving is complete and contractors are undertaking what he termed “cleanup” and applying final touches to the project.

“That’s going to include removing dirt from the banks,” he said, Thursday, “applying the signage, striping and so on. And we are looking to have it open in the coming weeks.”

Smithee was cautious about specifying a date, however, due to uncertainties like the weather. He noted that there was not yet a reason to change the estimated completion date listed on signage at the junctions of the bypass and Highway 49 or the bypass’s junction with Highway 412.

“It was December 2018,” he said, “and then we had to change it to October 2019. And we are hoping not to have to change it from September 2020. So our plan is for the end of September.”

Smithee warned, however, that as part of the the opening of the bypass, roads that intersect it will acquire stop signs that were not previously there.

“So people won’t be able to just drive on through the way they do now,” he said.

Such roads include:

Pine Knot Road

Walcott Road

Westbrook Drive

Greene 757 Road/Pruett’s Chapel Road

Arkansas Highway 358

Rockingchair Road

Brown’s Chapel Road

Smithee noted that traffic lights are already installed at each end of the bypass, at its junction with Highway 412 West and with Highway 49 South. “Those are the only lights we will have,” he said.

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