The Arkadelphia Bypass: What you need to know

Caroline Derby

With countless ideas, routes, meetings, and questions asked, the Arkadelphia Bypass is in the works. This project is partially funded by the Federal Highway Administration in a partnership with the Arkansas Department of Transportation who is using money allocated by the state to also fund this project. By modifying existing roadways and creating the bypass, the safety, mobility, and connectivity within Arkadelphia, Clark County, and surrounding areas will be improved. The Central Business District (CBD) serves as the crossroads for Highway 51 and Highway 67. Those are roads frequently used by logging trucks and other large trucks causing a halt to vehicular flow within town. Having the bypass will allow a way for the trucks to avoid going through city limits, and provide easier vehicular traffic flow to businesses in the city of Arkadelphia.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation planning studies investigated roadways in Arkadelphia. The Arkadelphia Bypass Traffic Study evaluated crash rates on the roads in question dealing with the proposed bypass. They found that crash rates between 2015 – 2017 were above the statewide average. The crash rates are highest along Highway 51, which is filled with congested intersections and difficult turns. Difficult turns are also present within and around the Central Business District because the Highway 51 roadway is restrictive, and larger trucks have a harder time turning. Sometimes trucks must pull into the opposing lane of traffic to complete turns, causing cars and other vehicles to back up to avoid a collision or another incident. The bypass will provide a safe and effective way for log trucks and other larger trucks to avoid these problem areas.

The bypass would also allow for more rural and southern areas of Clark County to have easier access to Baptist Health Medical Center on Professional Park Drive. There has been a congested traffic flow while turning left onto Professional Park Drive, and with the bypass, larger trucks will be able to avoid that area as well. This provides an easier way for emergency vehicles to reach Baptist Health Hospital, once again improving the safety of Arkadelphia.

Another benefit of the bypass will be the projected economic growth for the city of Arkadelphia. Creating new roadways will allow for more businesses to come to Arkadelphia and contribute to the economy as a whole. “Eventually, over time, this bypass would provide economic growth for the city and county,” Arkadelphia City Manager Gary Brinkley said.

Numerous routes are currently being considered for the bypass. These routes have to take into account environmental impacts and restrictions and also current housing and business restrictions that may arise. As of right now, comments and concerns of Arkadelphia citizens are being taken into consideration after the Arkansas Department of Transportation allowed a comment section on their website for people to express their thoughts.

“We hope that the approval and funding continue on track so that they can start this sometime in 2022,” Brinkley said.

For more information about the bypass please visit, https://arkadelphiabypass.transportationplanroom.com. The Dispatch will continue to provide updates as this story develops.