Cell phone reception in Thida and Pleasant Plains should be improving soon. Judge Robeert Griffin announced an agreement to share part of an existing Arkansas Department of Transportation cell phone tower in the area. The agreement will also save the county about $1,200 a year. The Independence Quorum Court met during a conference call Monday night. During the call court members approved an ordinance (2020-12) for the transfer of three historic bridges: English Creek Bridge, East Cache River Bridge, and the West Cache River Bridge. Once the resolution is received by ARDOT, it will create a memorandum of agreement between the Federal Highway Administration, the Arkansas State Historic Preservation Officer, and the county for the transfer of ownership of the bridges.

Independence County will take possession of those structures and put them over Poke Bayou to help create an additional four miles of pedestrian trails in that area.

The quorum court also approved a resolution expressing the willingness of Independence County to partner with ARDOT on Hwy. 167 Improvements. The proposed project would develop a second set of travel lanes protected by a barrier from the existing lanes as a parallel emergency route. The emergency route would only be used in the event of an incident that results in the closure of Hwy. 167 at the curve. The county, along with the cities of Southside and Batesville, will grant necessary right-of-ways, and ARDOT has committed to designing the parallel emergency route, handling environmental and permitting activities, paving, constructing a barrier wall, and supervising construction.

Another ordinance (2020-20) amended a 2012 ordinance (2012-48) to reauthorize the use of the juvenile depreciation fund for other purposes. The county will be looking to lease out the juvenile detention facility in 2021.

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