The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) officials, Highway Commissioners, Legislators, News Media and member of the public gathered in Old Washington Monday morning to celebrate the ribbon cutting for the overlay of Highway 195 between Washington and Fulton.
Construction on the highway began in June 2020 and finally finished this past April thanks to Red Stone Construction and the partnership of the Arkansas Economic Development Commison, ARDOT, and Hempstead County.
“Exciting things happen when several organizations come together with one cause and that’s what’s happening today,” Lorie Tudor, director of the Arkansas Department of Transportation, said. “It’s a collaborative effort.”
Tudor says that the highway is so beautiful that she might include a photo of it in the Arkansas Highway Manuel.
“It is a 13 mile stretch of highway that has a brand new service,” she said. “It’s gorgeous. We had a little extra time this morning so me and Christy (her executive assistant) drove up it and it is a really pretty highway. I’m very proud of it.”
The construction of the highway started with Tyson Foods when they made plans to build a new mill on the highway, but the weight limit on the road was not big enough for the trucks they planned on driving on it, so they decided to ask for it to be paved over.
“Tyson wanted to be good stuarts of Highway 195 so they approached ARDOT about the possibility of improvements made to the highway to make the mill viable,” Philip Taldo, a member of the Arkansas Department of Transportation, said. “ARDOT did a study to determine what improvements needed to be made for it to be possible and determined that 5-9 inches of pavement had to be added.”
The Hempstead County Judge, Jerry Crane, is excited about the opportunities the newly paved highway will bring.
“It’s been an adventure, it’s been exiting to see things come to pass,” he said. “This is an improvement to this community, to this county, and in the future it will bring more jobs to this community.”