The Benton Parkway in the southern part of Benton, Ark., closed to through traffic Aug. 13.
It is expected to be closed for the remainder of the year to accommodate construction of the new Highway 35 railroad overpass, but will be open to local traffic only between Highways 88 and 35. Detours will divert traffic to Highway 88, the same route used by motorists before the Benton Parkway was built.
M.J. Lee Construction Company of Tulsa, Okla., was awarded the $15 million contract to construct two new railroad overpasses as part of major improvements to the intersection of highways 35 and 183 in Saline County where traffic regularly backs up due to the trains.
One of the overpasses will be located on Highway 35 just west of the existing intersection with Highway 183. The second overpass will be built on new location to the east and will connect Highway 35 to the Benton Parkway.
According to Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) officials, the western Highway 35 overpass will be built first with initial construction beginning in the next several weeks. Once this phase is completed the Benton Parkway will be re-opened. That should be by the end of the year. Completion of the entire project is estimated to be in the spring of 2010.