by Max Brantley
Ever tempted to take the Pig Trail, Highway 23, to Fayetteville for old time's sake? Don't for a while. A section of it is closed five miles north of Cass and will be for up to two weeks.
Highway Department says:The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) has closed a section of Highway 23 in Franklin County due to increased instability of the roadway. A highway contractor has been working in the area to repair damage initially caused by heavy rains and flooding in the spring of 2008. Recent rains and snow have caused additional slides and instability in the area.
The affected area is located approximately 5 miles north of Cass, or about 19 miles north of I-40, on Highway 23. Northbound and southbound traffic have been alternately sharing one lane to get through the construction area in recent weeks. However, earlier today crews discovered additional instability in the area that will require the one open lane to be closed for up to two weeks.
“The highway is being closed for the safety of motorists while the repairs are being made,” said Joe Shipman, AHTD District Engineer. “The contractor will be working seven days a week to complete repairs to allow at least one lane to be re-opened as soon as possible.”
The closure of this section of Highway 23 means that traffic traveling north from I-40 should consider other routes including Highways 21, 71, and I-540.
Heavy rains and flooding caused the initial damage on Highway 23 in the spring of 2008. AHTD maintenance crews made temporary repairs to the roadway to allow it to re-open, but a $2.5 million contract was awarded to Kesser International of Little Rock in August of 2009 for the permanent repairs. The work is expected to be completed by the summer of 2010.
Motorists should exercise caution when approaching and traveling through all highway work zones