With the cutting of a ribbon, U.S. Highway 70 from Interstate 30 to Hot Springs officially became a newly widened five-lane highway.
Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) Director Scott Bennett and members of the Highway Commission joined Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin, Hot Springs Mayor Pat McCabe, and others to celebrate the completion of a project that widened 18 miles of the two-lane roadway to four lanes and added a continuous center turn lane. Reconstruction of four bridges was also part of the project.
“Today we cut a ribbon on a safer, more efficient way to get between Hot Springs and Interstate 30,” Bennett commented. “Not only did we widen the highway, we straightened curves, flattened hills and installed a traffic signal at State Highway 128.”
Lieutenant Governor Griffin shared the importance of a strong, growing highway system.
“You cannot have sustained economic development and growth without highways and infrastructure,” Griffin explained. “I thank the taxpayers and voters of Arkansas for saying this is a project that is important. This is about quality of life. More people will want to come to this area of the State with these improvements. When people come here from out of state, this is what we want them to see; we want them to wish they had roadways like this one in their state.”
The improvements to Highway 70 were made possible with the passing of a statewide half-cent sales tax in 2012. The widening project is part of ARDOT’s “Connecting Arkansas Program” which is improving approximately 200 miles of Arkansas’ highways and Interstates.
In the future, a portion of the new roadway will become part of the Southwest Trail, a 67-mile multi-use trail between Hot Springs National Park and the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site.