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Council to approve US 82 B/Hillsboro gateway conceptual design tonight

Posted on April 5, 2018


By Tia Lyons
Staff Writer

Terrance Armstard/News-Times

Hillboro Street: Traffic floods Hillsboro Street in El Dorado Wednesday. There is a master plan to widen Hillsboro Street from a two lane to a three lane from the Highway 82 bypass to the Highway 167 bypass, totaling around four miles.

A long-awaited master plan for improvements to the U.S. 82/Hillsboro gateway is up for approval today by the the El Dorado City Council.

The council will convene for a regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber of City Hall.

Julie Luther and Dave Roberts — both of Crafton Tull and Associates, Inc., engineering and survey firm — presented the final design concept to council members during their last regular meeting on March 22.

Luther noted then that the proposal was the culmination “of couple of years of effort.”

Just over a decade ago, city officials and community leaders called on the Arkansas Department of Transportation to widen and improve U.S. 82 B/ Hillsboro through El Dorado.

The effort was driven by Madison Murphy, who served on the state highway commission from 2003 until 2013.

In 2016, the city contracted with Crafton Tull to work with the city and ARDoT to develop a master plan that would be amenable to both sides.

The work included several public hearings, in which local citizens offered their input to address pedestrian safety, traffic congestion, roadway capacity, multi-use paths, beautification and other components to improve the city’s primary east-west artery.

The highway widening project, which is still in its developmental stages, calls for roundabouts, landscaped medians and the replacement of two bridges, including the Hillsboro viaduct.

Last October, the city passed a resolution to adopt and maintain U.S. 82/Hillsboro upon completion of the highway project.

The city’s portion of an agreement with ARDoT will cost $3 – $4 million.

With two council members having to leave the March 22 meeting early, Hash asked the remainder of the council to consider a “vote of confidence” for the master plan in the form of a resolution tonight.

The council is also expected to consider appointing Brian W. Jones to the El Dorado Parks and Playgrounds Commission.

During a meeting last week, commissioners selected Jones among a group of candidates to fill a vacancy that was left by John Thomas Shepherd.

Shepherd resigned from the commission last summer after being appointed as the 13th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney to fill the unexpired term of the late David Butler.

Butler died unexpectedly on Aug. 13, 2017.

Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or by email at tlyons@ .