AHTD IDENTIFIES PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE FOR HIGHWAY 162 IN ALMA


    LITTLE ROCK (10-25)   

     The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD), in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration, has completed an Environmental Assessment (EA) for Highway 162 improvements in Alma , Arkansas .

     Two alternatives were evaluated in the EA and presented at a Location Public Hearing on September 13th, 2007.  Alternative 1 would provide a connection from Highway 162 to Highway 64 west of Alma , and Alternative 2 would provide a connection from Highway 162 to Highway 64 east of the town.  Both alternatives include an overpass of the Union Pacific Railroad and have portions on new location.  After consideration of the information contained in the EA and the comments received at the Location Public Hearing, the AHTD has identified Alternative 2, the eastern bypass, as the Preferred Alternative (see map).  Alternative 2 will consist of two 14-foot travel lanes with five-foot sidewalks on each side of the roadway.

      This alternative meets the primary purpose and need of the project by providing an overpass of the Union Pacific Railroad, thus enhancing safety and improving traffic operations.  The alternative is adequate to carry the corridor’s projected traffic volumes, and should thereby satisfy the needs of the area for the next twenty years.  Alternative 2 is the shortest and least expensive of the alternatives and had the highest number of supporting comments from the public, support from the City of Alma , and support from the Alma School District .

     The next step in project development will be to conduct surveys, archeological work and preliminary design.  Once the preliminary design is completed and the right of way limits are established, a Design Public Hearing will be held in the area.  After comments from this Design Public Hearing have been addressed, the AHTD will request approval from the Federal Highway Administration in order to proceed with implementation of the proposed improvements as funds become available.

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