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A widened highway connecting Interstate 30 to Hot Springs is set to open after a multimillion-dollar project, according to the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

The newly constructed lanes of U.S. 70 in Garland and Saline counties are expected to open “after the Memorial Day weekend,” the Transportation Department said. An exact date hasn’t been announced.

A planned opening before the holiday weekend had to be pushed back due to "inclement weather that has impacted completion of the project," the agency said Wednesday afternoon.

“In preparation of this opening, various traffic lane shifts and closures will be in place over the next week,” according to a news release.

Work began in January 2017 on the $78.5 million project, which implements new safety measures after several fatal crashes in 2015 on the stretch drew concerns.

Officials said the 17.5-mile highway, primarily two lanes with some passing lanes, was widened to five lanes — two lanes in each direction accompanied by a turning lane — as part of the project.

A new traffic signal on U.S. 70 at Arkansas 128 set to become operational this week will now be functional May 30, weather permitting. The project also included rebuilding four bridges, straightening curves and flattening hills.

U.S. 70, which stretches between Benton and Hot Springs, carries between 15,000 and 17,500 vehicles daily, according to estimates.

Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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