November 25, 2009 Edition

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Highway commission provides
funding for rails to trails project

Gretchen Hunt

The Arkansas State Highway Commission has awarded funding to applicants, including Lawrence County, for the Recreational Trails Program projects in Arkansas.

"The trails program, which is a very competitive program, is directed toward developing and maintaining trails for recreational purposes throughout the state," said Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department Director Dan Flowers.

"We received 58 applications requesting more than $4.6 million," he said.

Only 25 projects were selected to receive over $1.4 million in available funding, $65,816 of which was applied to the Rails to Trails in Hoxie and Walnut Ridge.

The funding will be used locally to continue paving on the trail, which runs from Hoxie to College City.

Committee member Junior Briner said the new funding will be used to work on phase four of the trail, which will begin on the other side of Highway 67 and work toward Williams Baptist College. He said they hope the money will be available to begin work in the spring.

Another stretch, called phase three, has already been funded in the amount of $72,335. It will pick up at the end of the bridge recently constructed near Bartons and continue to Old Walnut Ridge Road.

The stretch of the trail that goes from Old Walnut Ridge Road north to the old truck stop on Highway 67 will not be paved, according to Briner.

"We plan to grade that stretch and use the road bed as a natural trail," he said. "That stretch will still be open to walkers and bicicyles, as well as people riding horseback."

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