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Garland County could see tourism boost with new bypass

ARDOT has been hard at work and making progress on the Hot Springs bypass. While it's not done just yet— many are hopeful that it could boost tourism for the city.

GARLAND COUNTY, Ark. — Construction usually doesn't yield excitement, but the Hot Springs Bypass is a different kind of project.

"It's just going to be like that," Visit Hot Springs CEO Steve Arrison said. "It's going to be great."

Arrison said the completion of the Hot Springs Bypass doesn't just provide a nice road to drive on; it's connecting the city to so much more.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation shared a video on Wednesday showcasing the progress of the project.

"If you have a business here, you want those people coming in this direction, you don't want them going in the opposite direction," Arrison said. "Now it'll make it a lot easier for them to come and enjoy everything that Hot Springs has to offer."

Arrison isn't alone as Garland County Judge Darryl Mahoney is also feeling the excitement.

"This will give that artery to the north that it needs," Mahoney said.

Mahoney said delays on the project haven't been welcome in the past.

"I tell them I feel the same way... I'm frustrated that it's not open," Mahoney said. "I actually live near the north end of it, and I have property on the south end of it, so it's a huge saving for me just coming back and forth."

People won't have to wait too much longer. Arrison and Mahoney said they expect to see the project finished this summer.

"I do believe that the economic development for tourism, for growth on the northern side of the county and for resources to reach out that way is going to be a huge part of what that bypass will provide," Mahoney said.

That's something Arrison is excited about, which is just in time for the summer tourism rush.

"We're looking at another record year," Arrison said. "Think about it, if we had this open, if we had 30 complete, what our numbers would have been... what's good for Arkansas is good for Hot Springs, and vice versa so we're really excited."

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