HOT SPRING, Ark. (KTHV) -- We’re looking ahead to Independence Day Weekend. If you plan on traveling to the tri-lakes, it will require some traffic planning.
The widening of U.S. 70 to Hot Springs is in high gear. The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department wants commuters and holiday travelers to be aware of upcoming lane shifts. Don’t let speeding or distracted driving ruin your fun.
“If you go to Hot Springs for the Fourth of July weekend, just remember to take your time,” said Danny Straessle with the AHTD.
Construction on Highway 70 may be complete sooner than you think.
“Folks are very impressed with the speed that the contractor is working at,” Straessle added.
Those traveling between interstate 30 and Hot Springs should have relief with widened lanes and can expect completion in 2018.
“We're widening the highway to five lanes, two 12-foot lanes in both directions and an 11-foot center turning lane. A continuous left turn lane,” said Straessle.
“When it’s done and over it'll be better for everyone in the community because it'll be easier to get to Hot Springs,” said Jared Warford.
His family owns Kream Kastle Drive Inn located along Highway 70, right in the middle of construction. He said it’s been a hassle.
“Right up the road here it's hard to tell when people are coming down because they switched lanes. When you're pulling out, especially at night, it’s hard to tell,” Warford said, pointing towards traffic.
Right now, there are very few passing lanes, but the highway department hopes a new left turning lane will increase traffic capacity and promote safety.
“The last thing you want to do is be in a hurry,” Straessle said. “If you're not paying attention you're going to hit a wall or hit another vehicle.”
And remember this advice. Don’t travel behind the car in front of you too closely, be mindful of speed limits, and pay attention to lane shifts. Next weekend you won't see construction workers because of the holiday, but keep in mind that you're still driving in a dangerous work zone.