June 29, 2016 Edition

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Hwy. 67 to open Aug. 11

Gretchen Hunt

Travel between Lawrence County and central Arkansas is about to get easier and quicker, noted Brett Cooper, chair of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee.

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has announced that the new Hwy. 67 freeway to Walnut Ridge and Hoxie will open with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Aug. 11, hosted by the AHTD and the Chamber.

"It is hard to overstate just how significant the opening of the new Hwy. 67 is for Lawrence County," Cooper said. "It literally provides new avenues of access between Lawrence County and central Arkansas, and beyond. It makes our community all the more attractive to visitors and prospective industries, and it builds on the county’s tremendous strength in transportation options."

With the opening, Lawrence County will be connected to central Arkansas with a divided highway built to interstate freeway standards. In addition to ease of driving, the new roadway is expected to cut 10-15 minutes from the trip. The speed limit on the new roadway will be 70 miles per hour.

Hoxie Mayor Lanny Tinker said they expect increased traffic counts on Hwy. 67, paired with high traffic counts on Hwy. 63.

"It will make a Little Rock trip that much easier," he said. "It will bring Hoxie closer to Little Rock and Little Rock closer to Hoxie."

The ribbon cutting will take place Aug. 11 at 10 a.m. beneath the Owl City Road overpass, which is just south of the intersection of Hwy. 67 and Hwy. 63. The public is invited to attend, and the new highway will officially open to drivers just after the ceremony ends.

Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp said the new highway will provide lots of opportunities in Lawrence County.

"Having the four-lane interstate quality highway to Little Rock will provide new opportunities for economic development in Walnut Ridge and the surrounding area and ultimately lead to another boost in area jobs," he said.

Tinker said he anticipates economic development on the south end of Hoxie when the new highway opens.

"For the first time in my lifetime, we will be where we could have some extremely good economic development in Hoxie," he said.

He noted that the city of Hoxie owns four acres that would be a perfect location for fast food restaurants and/or a motel.

"We are the most optimistic we have been in a number of years," he said.

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