Major road work begins on I-555; traffic delays expected

by George Jared ([email protected]) 1,371 views 

Traffic patterns in Jonesboro could be disrupted during the next 18 months as a major road reconstruction project begins on I-555. Work was expected to begin Tuesday (March 10), according to the city. Kross Construction Co. out of Topeka, Kansas is in charge of the $34 million reconstruction.

It will impact traffic between the exits at Nettleton Avenue and Southwest Drive. Work will begin on southbound sections, reducing traffic to one lane as the shoulder is built up to accommodate traffic. Eventually, all concrete in both directions will be replaced with deeper, stronger asphalt.

“In the long term, this is great for Jonesboro,” Mayor Harold Perrin said. “In the short term, it will require patience and cause some delays in traffic. So I ask everyone to plan travel a little earlier so that everyone drives safely and no one feels stressed.”

The I-555 work is only one of several state highway projects unfolding in Jonesboro this year. Perrin said he is grateful to ArDOT officials and Commissioner Alec Farmer for the projects that, when completed, will enhance safety for motorists and the movement of traffic.

ArDOT engineer Aaron Vowell said once the shoulders are built up and drivable, work will begin to construct temporary median ramps and crossovers. After that is complete, all traffic will be switched to the southbound lanes, reducing traffic to one lane each way. Temporary concrete dividers will separate head-on traffic in drivable lanes, while the other side of the interstate is reconstructed.

“We will also rehabilitate four bridges along I-555 with modified latex overlay,” Vowell said. “Additionally, work will be performed by crews to apply a polymer overlay to the existing overpasses, which will help preserve and seal the bridge decks to make them last longer.

Vowell said that will mean temporary closures on Willow Road, Red Wolf, Caraway, Harrisburg Road and Southwest Drive, which is expected later this summer.

“It won’t be as extensive, but will still have an impact on traffic,” he said.