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Officials with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department say the new U.S. 167 Sheridan Bypass will open to traffic Thursday at noon.

The $25 million bypass begins just north of Sheridan and extends west of downtown, crossing highways 35, 270 and 46 before it reconnects with existing Highway 167 south of Sheridan, the department said in a statement Friday.

Construction began on the 8 1/2-mile stretch of highway in 2010. Officials said the bypass is expected to alleviate traffic congestion in downtown Sheridan.

Though the bypass will be open to traffic Thursday, construction will continue in the area until mid-May.

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