In 2011, Bowie County voters approved a bond election to improve U.S. Hwy. 82 between New Boston and DeKalb, Arkansas. On Monday, the project moved another step closer to reality.
"I go east and turn left, and people are always passing me on the wrong side of the road," says Shell Felker, who says she travels Hwy. 82 several times a day.
"It is really dangerous coming in and out of this road. It is dangerous when I turn on the county road going into my house," Felker says.
Bowie County officials estimate that as many as 10,000 cars a day travel along this section of Hwy. 82. But for drivers like Felker, improvements are on the way.
The Bowie County Commissioners Court awarded a $27.8 million contract to James Construction Company for a major overhaul of the highway.
"We didn't have enough money to build a five-lane section, so we dropped it back to a 50-foot-wide pavement structure that would allow us to build alternating passing lanes," says Project Manager John Goodwin.
"We are very excited about the widening project," says Linda Estill, Malta school superintendent.
"It is going to help with the dangerous situation of the cars when students are being dropped off in the morning and being picked up in the afternoon."
A James Construction spokesman says work should begin within the next three months. There is a two-year completion date.
The State of Texas will reimburse Bowie County the entire $27.8 million construction cost when the project is complete.
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