In sitting down to talk with Greenwood Mayor Doug Kinslow, I
learned about his passion for Greenwood, for the people and for the future.
One of the most talked about issues in Greenwood is the traffic situation, which the Mayor says was stretched and tested with the floods in May and early June when the traffic was diverted by the highway department.
“It could have been a lot worse, but while people in this
area were not happy with the congestion, it went better than it appeared it
would”, the Mayor said.
Over the last decade, there have been various plans submitted to the Arkansas Department of Transportation and because of the individuals in the city offices, they have been able to provide new plans to ARDOT that are more practical and sustainable for the future in re-routing the larger trucks and traffic out of central Greenwood.
“The traffic relief program, which has been tagged by the
ARDOT as part of the I49 bypass, will start at Highway 96 parallel to Highway
10 Spur across the creek, heading South and then tying into Highway 10. This will
move the larger trucks and some traffic around Greenwood, will only add one-minute
difference in that 1-mile bypass and include three bridges.”
There will be other improvements, such as widening Highway 10
to a 4-lane, according to the Mayor.
When will this begin? The Mayor says there are three things
that must take place for this to happen: Money, land and taking over the road
maintenance of part of the route.
While the city does have money set aside for this project because of the 3/4 cent sales tax and there are already tentative arrangements for the land, the price tag to get this done is extensive. The ARDOT knows there is an immediate need for traffic relief in Greenwood and the Mayor along with others are working tirelessly to get the green light.
In the meantime, the Mayor is making sure the State of
Arkansas leaders are reminded of the need for this bypass.
“I feel very good about this project and the route we have
proposed. The ARDOT is also very pleased this route has been chosen.”
The goal of the City is not to raise taxes to start and complete
this project. However, there may need to be an extension of the current 3/4 cent
sales tax. He says, “We are in year 3 of a 10-year tax and we are being
vigilant in finding ways to get this bypass done without raising taxes again or
While everyone would like an immediate solution to the
traffic problems in Greenwood, mainly while school is in session in the
mornings and evenings, the Mayor feels we can alleviate the stress of driving
the route by leaving earlier than normal.
The Mayor knows there are some frustrations from time to
time, but he also knows that this community is supportive and caring, as was
evidenced recently with the floods.
“Greenwood is a great town to live, work and raise a family in. We have an incredible community and we want to make it better.”