ARDOT hosts public meeting on proposed Hwy 71 widening project

DE QUEEN, Ark. - The Arkansas Department of Transportation is hosted a public meeting Tuesday night to discuss a proposed plan to widen Highway 71 in Sevier County.

The meeting was held inside the Memorial Missionary Baptist Church.

Residents were given the chance to view displays of the project, ask questions and offer comments.

Transportation officials are proposing a plan to widen about 5 miles of Highway 71, just east of De Queen.

The proposed project includes widening the roadway to five lanes with a shoulder, and replacing two bridges between the Cossatot River and the city limits of De Queen.

ARDOT officials say the new construction would improve safety and overall capacity on the road.

Right now, there are about 5,000 vehicles that travel Highway 71 each day.

"Most everyone I've talked to has been a property owner, and they want to know how is this project affected me? How much of my property are you taking? What's going to happen to my driveway? We have some business owners here as well. They want to know how it will affect their business. That's what we're trying to do, inform everyone ahead of time, address any concerns," explained Jason Efird, ARDOT Engineer.

The project would be paid for with state and federal funds.

If approved, construction could begin this time next year.

If you can't be at the meeting, you can still have 15 days to leave comments, concerns, and questions with the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

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