Work continues on Arkansas Road widening project

Construction on Arkansas Road will continue as two roundabouts open for traffic.

Three out of four roundabouts on Arkansas Road are complete but only two of them are open for use, according to Marshall Hill, District Engineer Administrator for the state Department of Transportation and Development’s Monroe office.

“Everything seems to be going as planned,” said Hill.

The Good Hope Road roundabout on Arkansas Road is complete but not ready for traffic.

“Good Hope (roundabout) is constructed but we still got to construct a little bit of the road to the Northwest before we can open it up to traffic,” said Hill.

Hill could not say specifically when the Good Hope roundabout would open because upcoming winter weather could hinder construction.

“I haven’t talked to the contractor about it, and it’s probably going to depend on the weather,” said Hill. “I’m going to say maybe the first part of next year. And that’s me guessing.”

The fourth roundabout located at Forty Oaks Farm Road is currently under construction.

“About half of it has been constructed because it was the part that wasn’t heavily under traffic in the new alignment, so they will have to shift some traffic around to work on the rest of it,” said Hill.

Hill suggested that Forty Oaks Farm Road would need to be closed for the tie-in process, though he was unsure of when the closure would take place. Hill estimated the closure could last about 20 days.

“We will have to close Forty Oaks Farm when we get closer to that,” said Hill. “I don’t know when that will be.”

Hill estimated the entire project of adding roundabouts could be completed sometime next year.

“If we get a good summer, they can have that done by the end of next year,” said Hill.

The Warren Drive and Kiroli Road roundabouts have recorded had few accidents since their opening, according to Hill.

“I know there was one very early, but I think they have been very minimal,” said Hill. “ I definitely don’t know if there have been very many of them. Especially after everybody has gotten used to it.”

In related news, the city of West Monroe is seeking additional $50,000 in funding for the Arkansas Road Drainage Improvements project.

The purpose of the project is to prepare the old Trenton Street Golf Course to hold more water that flows from the Highland Park Subdivision during high intensity rainfall to prevent any rise in the water surface in the south, according to Robbie George, the city’s consulting engineer with S.E. Huey Co.

“Basically, we’re taking water from the Highland Park subdivision. We’re getting it on the golf course quicker and holding it there so it doesn’t cause any flooding downstream,” said George.

“The way we’re doing that is by we’re going to install some larger culverts under Arkansas Road and cleanout and enlarge ditches in the neighborhood north of Arkansas Road, so the water can get across the road faster.”

The West Monroe Board of Aldermen approved the filing of an application for a grant of $50,000 from the Local Government Assistance Program (LGAP) during its regular meeting last Tuesday.

“We had applied last year for $30,000, and we’re going to request $50,000 this year,” said George.

According to George, the total for the project is an estimated $380,000.

“That will give us a total of $80,000 from that program that will be applied to this project,” said George.

“The city would fund the other $300,000.”

Weather permitting, construction will begin in January of 2020 and take approximately four to six months to complete, according to George.

“There will be temporary road closures on Arkansas Road but we will announce them ahead of time,” said George.

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