January 23, 2008 Edition

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Traffic signal activated at 63/91

A semi truck pulls to a stop Monday night at the newly activated stop light at the intersection of Highways 63 and 91 in Walnut Ridge. The signal, which has been flashing yellow since it was installed, was activated as a fully-functioning stop light on Friday.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt
Gretchen Hunt

Those entering Highway 63 from Highway 91 will find the proposition quite a bit easier after the Arkansas Highway Department activated a traffic signal on Friday.

The signal, which has been flashing a yellow caution light since it was installed, now provides a protected green light for those entering 63. The signal also means the possibility of traffic on 63 having to stop for a red light, though.

District Highway Engineer Joe Barnett said any time a new signal is activated there are those who like it and those who dislike it. The signal is needed, though, Barnett said, according to the traffic study that was done as part of the highway improvement program.

"We don't just say, we're going to put a light there," he said. "A routine part of our procedure when we build new highways is to check for intersections that might meet warrants of need for signalization."

Those warrants include volume of traffic on each highway, volume of vehicles making left turns and accident history.

"It's pretty common for people traveling through to be opposed," Barnett said. "It is also common for those on the intersecting road to be in favor. We go strictly by the standards, and this intersection meets those standards."

Highway 63 has been undergoing upgrades over the past several years. Previously a two-lane highway, the final stage of the new five-lane highway, connecting Lawrence and Craighead counties, was opened in late summer.

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