An alternative roadway is in the works for motorists traveling to and from Jonesboro. The Arkansas Department of Transportation is creating a route using commerce drive to connect Highway 49 to Interstate I-555.
“It would make that trip a lot more convenient,” says Alan Walter, who serves as ARDOT’s district construction engineer. “[It’ll] save quite a few stop lights…and for the large trucks that are making deliveries down on Commerce…it’ll give them a straighter route. And not mix with the residential and city traffic here in Jonesboro.”
Construction plans include five lanes of travel south of highway 18. And a railroad overpass along Farville Curve.
The commerce drive extension project is expected to take as many five thousand travelers off of Red Wolf Boulevard, helping to relieve much of the congestion that can be seen in front of the Mall at Turtle Creek, leading into downtown Jonesboro. Construction is scheduled to begin in October of 2020.
Mark Nichols is Jonesboro’s traffic operations engineer. He says that “our main corridor…highway 49 and red wolf boulevard has 42,000 vehicles plus a day on it, and it’s over capacity.”
Extending Commerce Drive ties in to the Highway 18 overpass project, at the intersection of East Highland and Nettleton Avenue. Mark Nichols is hopeful of change.
“I think you will see some development…you know, along that corridor in the future,” adds Nichols. “Thankful that we have this opportunity here in Jonesboro that’s going to make our roadway system more reliable and add a measure of safety.”
Comments and concerns about the Commerce Drive extension are welcome at the ARDOT’s public input meeting. It takes place Thursday, February 7th from 4pm to 7pm at Nettleton High School in Jonesboro.