Monday, August 27, 2012

Bloody 64

Last Fall, AHTD opened the long-awaited US 64 bypass at Vilonia. The bypass is a 4 Lane expressway-style (4-Lanes, divided, partially-controlled access) roadway running just over 9 1/2 miles around the south side of town. 

It's a good, smooth road, I'll give it that much, but driving it, I found several potential problems.

For one, all the roadway intersections are at-grade (NO highway interchanges).  All the county roads cross 64 at ground level. Add to this a 65 mph speed limit on the bypass itself an one could be asking for serious problems.

Another problem is about halfway around at AR 107, there's a traffic signal. 65 mph non-stop traffic and suddenly there's a traffic signal? Oh, but the speed limit drops to 60 mph about 1/2 a mile before the intersection and there are some spiffy light-up signs that say "STOP AHEAD" when the light is red. That's another disaster waiting to happen.

At the east end of the bypass, traffic is slowed down to around 55mph as the road merges with it's old alignment near Business 64 becoming a 2-lane roadway and continuing towards Beebe. 

The west end is slightly more complicated: instead of merely merging with its old alignment and becoming a 4-lane highway towards Conway, it stops at a traffic signal at Business 64. Then half a mile west, there's another signal at AR 36.

To me, this bypass wasn't well thought out. 65mph? OK.  At-grade intersections? Not a real good idea. A traffic signal in the middle of nowhere? BAD idea. 

AHTD: what were you thinking? 


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