Motorists frustrated with increasing congestion on Highway 65 through Greenbrier could eventually bear witness to a more efficient traffic flow.
State Rep. Stephen Meeks, R-Greenbrier, has asked the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to conduct a traffic study focusing on the areas south of Tyler Street to just north of the Highway 225 intersection near the school zone, where vehicles are backed up daily during school and rush-hour traffic. There are currently three stoplights controlling traffic flow throughout that corridor.
"I have sat in the traffic many times and I have experienced it and in talking about it with other folks from the area, I just felt like something needed to be done," Meeks said.
He noted that Highway 65 is the only north-south option for travel through the area, and the community is quickly earning a reputation for being a "bottleneck" to traffic.
"Due to the growth of our community, it is not unusual to see heavy traffic congestion through the heart of our city, and occasional long backups," Meeks said. "These delays create an inconvenience for travelers, a hassle for citizens, and safety issues around our schools."
Meeks asked the department via letter to offer recommendations on how to best improve travel through Greenbrier, including looking into the timing of traffic lights, the design of intersections, the widening of lanes and the creation of alternative routes.
Randy Ort, public information officer with the highway department, said the study would have to first be approved by the state Highway Commission.
"The only reason they would not approve that type of study would be if we had just done one, so there is an excellent chance of this going forward," Ort said.
The study will include "a lot of data collection and data analysis," Ort said, and it could take up to 18 months to compile the information.
The study request will be heard at the June meeting of the Highway Commission.
(Megan Reynolds is a staff writer and can be reached by phone at 505-1277 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. To comment on this story and others, visit www.thecabin.net.)