Arkansas 351/Aggie Road Project Gets Support From Jonesboro City Council

by Michael Wilkey ([email protected]) 416 views 

It was not done in a roundabout way, but a roundabout at one of Jonesboro’s busiest intersections may be in the offing after city council members gave their blessing Tuesday night.

The Jonesboro City Council approved a resolution to support transferring federal highway funding to help build a roundabout at the Arkansas 351/Aggie Road intersection.

The intersection, which runs through northeast Jonesboro, connects U.S. 49 to the Jonesboro Regional Airport, Arkansas State University and several schools and churches.

Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin has said the project, which is expected to open bidding by the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Commission on July 21 in Little Rock, will alleviate traffic issues in the area.

The project is expected to cost $1.38 million, but Perrin said he expects it to cost less. The plan calls for federal aid money set aside for work on Race Street to be used for the project.

Perrin said the cost would involve relocating utilities as well as clearing three right of ways to help get the project moving.

Once the project receives a winning bid, construction could start as early as August 2015, Perrin said.

The city also has to provide a 20% match for the project.

According to paperwork on the Jonesboro city website, $293,750 has been set aside to cover the 20% match.

The council agreed Tuesday to appoint several people to a committee dealing with property maintenance in the city.

The issue was discussed in-depth during a June 11 committee meeting as well as a June 16 council meeting.

Officials were wanting to implement the 2012 International Maintenance Code to deal with dilapidated homes and buildings in Jonesboro.

During the meetings, supporters said the plan would help the city’s code enforcement officers have more weapons at their disposal in dealing with the issue.

However, those opposed to the plan said code enforcement officials would have too much power under the new code and that it would take away from private property rights.

Appointed to the committee were Buddy Nichols, Mike Boone, Teresa Beck, Bob Warner, Judy Casteel, Dan Pasmore, John Hardin, Jason Whitley and Lillian Cobbs.

Perrin, along with Jonesboro police Lt. Todd Nelson, city zoning official Otis Spriggs and city operations director L.M. Duncan, will serve as ex-officio members of the committee.

The committee has until Oct. 6, 2015 or when completed to turn in a report to the city council’s Public Works Committee.

Council members also heard from Police Chief Rick Elliott about the need for a firing range for city officers.

Elliott presented a plan to the council’s Public Works Committee.

Under the plan, the firing range would be built on 25.4 acres of land near the Jonesboro City Water and Light plant near Dan Avenue and Lacy Drive.

Elliott said the proposal has gotten a lot of support from area businesses and individuals. In addition to serving as a firing range, the range would also be available for local archery and shooting groups for practice, Elliott said.

The proposal is expected to be discussed further at the council’s July 21 meeting.