Piggott City Council Gives ArDOT Plans the Green Light
At a special meeting held Tuesday, March 5, the Piggott City Council agreed to allow the current highway improvement plans submitted by ArDOT to proceed in an effort to determine the local costs associated with the proposed improvements.
On a vote of 4-0, the council members agreed to allow the highway department to proceed with the planning stages on the widening of the intersection of U.S. Highway 62 and Highways 49/1 at the stop light, along with the placement of three round-a-bouts along Highway 62.
The issue was the subject of a public hearing held in late spring 2018, and a special council meeting earlier this year. The matter was also discussed at last week's regular council meeting, but was tabled due to the absence of councilman Jeff Benbrook. In turn, Tuesday's special meeting was called to either kill the project or allow it to proceed. (the story on the regular meeting may be found in the print edition of the CCTD)
With the understanding the council can decide to abandon the effort in the future if it proves too costly, council member Tracy Cole offered the motion to allow the planning to continue. Benbrook offered the second to the motion, and it was approved without dissent.
The plan being considered calls for the widening of the intersection at the stop light, including the addition of curb and sidewalk on the south side of Main Street. This will impact Cox Lumber Company and Fred's, as they'll have portions of their parking lots which lie within the state right-of-way impacted.
Councilman Jamey Parks, whose family owns and operates Cox Lumber Company, again voiced his concern about the amount of parking which would be lost—and what type of reimbursement might be offered.
“We just don't know, I know the improvements are needed, but personally I'm concerned,” he offered. “The plans we've seen will only allow us to keep about six parking spaces and you'll have to enter our parking lot at the alley. And, there's no way to know what the state would offer us in return.”
Mayor Travis Williams agreed there were many aspects of the job still unknown, but noted the only way to find out the impact is to proceed with the understanding the city can always back-out.
“I can tell you there's no one here that wants to see Cox Lumber Company gone,” he concluded.
The plan submitted earlier this year calls for the widening of the intersection at the stop light to allow better traffic flow, with the installation of curbs and sidewalks. The plan also calls for the installation of mini round-a-bouts at the intersection of North Third Avenue and West Jackson, West Jackson and Scurlock Avenue and Scurlock Avenue and West North Street.
The plans were first submitted at a public meeting last June, with updated plans presented to council in January. The effort is in response to decades of complaints from local leaders about the tight curves along U.S. Highway 62, and the issues with the flow of traffic at the stop light.
If the plan is approved officials estimates bids will be let in 2020 with the work commencing by 2021. City officials noted the next step will be to formulate estimates on relocating utilities, which will be a key component as to whether the project continues to enjoy the support of the city.