Music and speeches will mark the dedication and opening of the relocation of Highway 64 around Vilonia, a $42 million, 10-mile project that begin in 2005.

The event will be 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the new highway’s intersection with Highway 107.

Scheduled to speak are Scott Bennett, director of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, Highway Commissioner John Burkhalter, Vilonia Mayor James Firestone and Faulkner County Judge Preston Scroggin.

Music will be provided by the Vilonia High School band and the Primary Melodies, a Vilonia Elementary School Choir.

The project began in 2005 with a public input session with many in Vilonia objecting to the "bypass" that would take traffic away from the town center.

Once it was explained that churches and homes would be demolished if the existing highway were widened to four lanes and taking truck traffic away from the heart of town would increase the safety of school children, community support grew, said Glenn Bolick, a spokesman for the Highway Department.

The old Highway 64 will become Highway 64-B through Vilonia.

Grading and building of the road structure began in 2007 from South Church Street to the east and from South Church Street to the west in 2008. The final contract in the spring of 2010 was for surface paving of the highway.

Completion means the route will be four lanes from Conway to near Highway 64’s intersection with Highway 5.

Following the ribbon cutting, the road will be open for traffic, but construction will continue on the two ends of the route.

"The middle is fine; there’s a ittle bit of work to do on the ends, but it will be completed by the end of the year," Bolic said.

(Staff writer Becky Harris can be reached at and 505-1234.)