The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) requires a permit to improve or work in their right of ways (ROW). To obtain a permit, engineered drawings must be submitted and other criteria must be met. One such requirement was that any widening of the portion of 17, that was in the AHTD’s ROW, must perfectly align with State Highway 246. This caused a problem for the county because any widening of Polk 17 would need to be within the county’s right of way and the proposed location for alignment was beyond the limits of county authority. In an effort to assist, the Cossatot River School Board purchased a strip of land needed to perfectly align Polk 17 and State Highway 246.
Now that the needed property was available, existing utilities had to be relocated. Telephone and electrical facilities were moved by their respective owners. The Polk County Road Department assisted the local water company to re-bury and fortify the water line. New drainage pipes were installed and extended.
The Polk County road crew then elevated and widened the road to three lanes at the intersection of US 71. The road was elevated by as much as 3 feet to improve drainage and to increase visibility as motorists approach the highway. The surface was improved with a three inch layer of hot mix asphalt. The project was concluded with the appropriate striping and lane designation.
“We spent a lot of time and money on a short piece of road, but, buses and students are very vulnerable at that intersection. I believe our efforts were worth it because this completed project has made this dangerous intersection safer,” stated Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison.