Saturday, February 28, 2009

Unbuilt US 70/270 in Hot Springs

The following are excerpts from the 1962 Garland County map. First the Hot Springs inset:

Note the proposed US 70-270 relocation. It would have followed Grand Avenue west to a new alignment that would have crossed US 270 (now 270B) near Mission Street and met US 70 (now 70B) just east of the railroad tracks. It even shows up on the main Garland County map:

The relocation was never built, but a proper US 70/270 freeway bypass was built in stages during the 1990s and 2000s, with a proposed extension to the AR 5/7 intersection at Fountain Lake. The proposed relocation shown here would have made sense, avoiding a rather narrow section of Albert Pike Road and several sharp curves, along with the one-way section through Hot Springs. Easily the most dangerous part of the former 70-270 route in Hot Springs. WB 70/270 were later extended along Grand to Summer, while EB 70/270 stayed on the Hobson to 3rd route shown here. US 70B/270B follow those routes to this day. This relocation would have made a smooth transaction from 70 and 270 west to the boulevard-style Grand Avenue. But I'd still rather have the freeway bypass than this relocation.

Another relic of the former plans for US 70 through Hot Springs is the now US 70B freeway that runs near Magic Springs. It's odd having a 2 lane highway with alternating passing lanes split into a freeway mainline bypass and a freeway business route. But the 70B freeway provides a quick connection from the middle of Hot Springs to Little Rock and points beyond.

Special thanks to Geostor for the historic map images.

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