Glory be. The Mayflower Overpass groundbreaking event on Tuesday, May 25 took 40 years of planning, but it is finally here. This kickoff for the Highway 89 improvement is the largest financial capital improvement project for Faulkner County.

This overpass will improve safety and emergency response times within the Mayflower community. For far too long, stationary trains have been a safety concern for emergency responders. Ambulances and law enforcement officers have been frustrated by train stoppages.

Additionally, this overpass will allow parents and students better access to Mayflower schools without unnecessary delays caused by stopped trains. No longer will parents have to worry about getting their children to school on time because a train is blocking the highway.

Finally, this project will help open up the entire south end of the county for further development of southern Faulkner County. Faulkner County continues to grow, and southern Faulkner County needed this overpass to pave the way for more opportunities.

It’s my dream that, eventually, Highway 89 can extend west to Dave Ward Drive at Toad Suck, and extend east to Cabot. I believe the Mayflower Overpass Project will greatly increase the economic development in the southern part of our county. The completion of this project will open up so many economic growth opportunities for our county from Mayflower to the river at Toadsuck. I also know: what is great for part of Faulkner County is good for all of the county. We’re all connected. The Mayflower Overpass is needed for further residential and commercial development in our county.

There are a lot of people to thank for their contribution to getting this project done. I would first like to thank those that supported our county-wide half-cent sales tax. Without that half-cent sales tax, this project would not have happened and all the economic growth opportunities created by this project would have been lost.

I believe we have to invest in the future. Much like the $10.58 million Highway 25 relocation project to Wooster, the real benefit far outweighs the cost, as demonstrated by the record growth in the county north on Highway 25 toward Wooster since the completion of the relocation project.

The Mayflower Overpass project would not have happened without a number of great people. County Judge Gerald Ward met with leaders in Mayflower 40 years ago to address the needs for a railroad overpass. At that time everyone agreed there was a need, but no one knew how to fund the project. Then, former county judges John Carter and Preston Scroggins worked with Mayor Frank Pearce and leaders to seek funding and sufficient geographic locations.

Lately, Congressman French Hill has spearheaded efforts to provide funding. We met on Congressman Hill’s first week in office to discuss this project.

In 2019, ArDOT’s Senior Chief Engineer Mr. Thornton put a partnership together to gain the financial resources to make it possible. This partnership is composed of The Federal Highway and Transportation Agency, ArDOT, Faulkner County, Mayflower, and Central Arkansas Metroplan.

I commend ArDOT and Director Lorie Tudor for setting the stage, by pulling off a tremendous ground-breaking event this week. Mayor Holland, the Mayflower City Council, the Faulkner County Quorum Court, and all our citizens of the county should be proud of this huge infrastructure project. It’s a step forward that’s been 40 years in the making.

The groundbreaking on this project was truly a great day for Faulkner County!

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