Project approved

The State Highway and Transportation Department has approved a bid for the widening of U.S. 82 in Magnolia.

The third time was the charm for the awarding of a bid to widen U.S. 82 from Columbia County Road 525 to the north intersection of the highway with U.S. 79 in Magnolia.

The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department on Thursday announced its acceptance of a bid from James Construction Group of Baton Rouge, LA, for $22,175,162.47. The bid was opened last week.

Highway commissioners had twice rejected all bids for the 4.2-mile project to widen the highway on the east side of Magnolia to five lanes as too high. Ironically, last Wednesday’s bid was $240,903.57 higher than another bid from the same company offered during state bid openings held in February.

“The City of Magnolia is very excited that this project has been awarded. We are looking forward to the start of this widening project. This project will improve the traffic flow along our highway and future enhance the prospect of widening all of U.S. 82 through Southern Arkansas. The City of Magnolia worked very hard with the Arkansas Highway Department to keep this project alive and now we will enjoy the benefits,” said Magnolia Mayor Parnell Vann.

The U.S. 82 and east side bypass widening will be the most expensive highway project in the history of Columbia County. The plan is to widen U.S. 82 from County Road 525 to the 79-82 bypass to five lanes. The sides of the roadway will have curbs and gutters. The project includes rebuilding the Nations Creek Bridge east of the East Main Street intersection, and widening 79-82 from East Main Street to the Shell Superstop, also to five lanes.

Other intersections that will experience significant rebuilds will be the entrance to Walmart, and the Warnock Springs Road intersection.

The prospectus provided by the highway department outlines some of the scope of the project, including the new five-lane bridge at the creek that will span 137 feet. A few other examples:

-- 57,266 tons of aggregated base course.

-- 20,066 gallons of tack coat.

-- 77,000 tons of asphalt base and binders.

-- 940 traffic drums.

-- 1,236 linear feet of precast concrete barriers.

-- Hundreds of culverts, ranging from 518 18-inch culverts to 109 72-inch culverts.

-- 131,108 linear feet of construction pavement markings.

-- 50 tons of lime, 24 acres of seeding and 73 acres of mulch cover.

-- 14,580 sandbags.

-- 66 traffic signals and more than 10,000 linear feet of cable for them.

-- Almost 800 cubic yards of concrete for the bridge and roadway.

-- 422 tons of riprap.

The project is expected to require two years of construction with work expected to begin in about 30 days. By that time, the second phase of the U.S. 82 widening project may also be ready to bid. Phase II will widen six miles of U.S. 82 from the Shell Super Stop on the bypass to Columbia County Road 27. CR 27 is the extension of South Hope Street through Waldo, east of the Deltic Timber Company mill.

It is estimated that the complete widening of U.S. 82 in Columbia County -- part of a larger project to improve the highway across South Arkansas -- will cost $82 million.

The state also approved on Thursday these bids of interest to South Arkansas opened last week.

Hempstead County

Redstone Construction Group of Little Rock was the low bidder at $1,685,143.45 for the overlay of U.S. 67 between the Red River and Peavine Creek.

Cranford Construction of North Little Rock was the low bidder at $905,076.67 for the overlay of U.S. 278 north of Arkansas 32.

Salt Creek Paving & Construction Co. of Benton was the low bidder at $187,291.40 for the overlay of County Road 248, north of U.S. 278.

Dallas County

Jet Asphalt & Rock Co. of El Dorado was the only bidder at $1,467,919.17 for the overlay of Arkansas 8 from Arkansas 9 west.

Union County

Jet Asphalt was the only bidder at $1,201,235.75 for the overlay of Arkansas 7 north and south of El Dorado.

Chicot County

APAC-Mississippi of Jackson was the low bidder at $931,076.73 for the overlay of Arkansas 144 between Highway 65 and Highway 257.

Little River

Jensen Construction Co. of Des Moines, IA, was the low bidder at $13,965,914.82 for straightaways and approaches to the Little River bridge between Little River and Sevier counties.

R.K. Hall Construction of Paris, TX was the only bidder at $1,283,066.27 for the overlay of Arkansas 41 south of County Road 114 near Foreman.

Howard County

Redstone Construction Group of Little Rock was the low bidder at $1,718,696.23 for the milling and inlay of selected sections of Highways 371 and 980.

Ouachita County

Jet Asphalt & Rock Co. was the only bidder at $925,793.12 for the overlay of U.S. 278 to the Nevada County line.

Nevada County

C&F Construction of Smackover was the only bidder at $1,119,087.72 for the overlay of selected sections of highways in the area of Bluff City, Bodcaw, Cale and Willisville.

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