(Town Crier photo/Nan Snider)
Monette Mayor David Fletcher welcomed representatives from the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, Garver Engineering, and Centurytel telephone service. Present were Walter McMillian, Eric Phillips and Brent Williams with AHTD, Billy Watson and Craig Young with Centurytel, and Nikki Tiner and Anita Budhsaja with Garver Engineering.
The City of Monette will be responsible for providing right of way, relocating utilities, supplying power and maintaining the traffic signal at the intersection, after improvements are made and construction completed.
"All the utility companies are working with us to improve our intersection and make it easier for large trucks to make safer turns onto Highway 18 and Highway 139," Fletcher said. "The city purchased the building on the northeast corner of the intersection last year and already owned the property on the northwest corner. We contacted the highway department about our desire to widen the turning area.
"Plans have been drawn by Garver Engineering of Little Rock, and they meet with the needs of our city. We now have the space to add two curved turning areas at the stoplight, which should eliminate sharp turns onto either highway. A through street will continue south on Edmonds Street as before."
Improvements and repositioning of the street light will be paid for by a 90/10 grant that the city received last year.
"The property has been surveyed and will be up for bids in March or April," Phillips said. "We will probably start work on the project in the fall and be finished this year. It usually takes nine months from start to finish."
"Plans are to add wheelchair ranges around the intersection, with pedestrian walkways," Tiner said. "Street lights will be placed on arms that go out over the street. Rounded turns will be placed on the northeast and northwest sides of the intersection."
"This is a very busy intersection, especially in the fall, with cotton module builders and equipment going through town," Fletcher said. "We have wanted to make improvements and have not been able to do so before, because we did not have the space. With the acquisition of the properties to the east and west, it became feasible. We are thankful to have such support from the highway department on this."