Highway construction project starts in Hot Springs

Right now, the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department has reduced part of the M.L.K. Expressway in Hot Springs to one lane in each direction.

The repaving project stretches from the Airport Road exit to the Albert Pike exit, and it will mean lane closures for drivers from six at night until six in the morning.

One Hot Springs business owner isn’t sweating the inconvenience. Rick Crispino’s Funtrackers has called Albert Pike Road in Hot Springs home for 15 years. It sits at the end of the construction zone.

“On a Friday night, especially on the 4th of July weekend, the traffic will be backed up from Mountain Pine Junction to the Bypass,” says Crispino.

Crispino does 75-percent of his business in the summer, but he is not worried about construction starting Monday night on Hot Spring’s M.L.K. Expressway.

“I don’t believe it’s going to impact us that much, I mean, sure people are gonna have to wait a little longer to come in and go out, but I don’t think it’s gonna hurt. I’m glad that they’re repaving it,” says Crispino.

Monday night, workers began the repaving project to fix a mile-long stretch of Highway 270 from Airport Road to Albert Pike Road. The AHTD tells FOX16 all of the work will be done in twelve hour shifts at night, which should minimize delays. At least one lane in each direction will be open this entire time.

The owner of the Whistle Stop Restaurant next to Funtrackers is concerned about business.

“You stop these tourists here, that’s not only going to hurt me, that’s gonna hurt Lake Ouchita,” says Linda Todd.

But, Crispino says Funtrackers’ business won’t slow down.

“They’re tourists, so they won’t know either way until they get on the bypass, you know, and find out that the one lane. I hope the traffic keeps flowing,” he says.

The work should be done before the end of the month. If it is not, then it will make an exception for July 3rd and 4th and keep all lanes open on those two days before continuing with the project July 5th.

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