BRYANT, Ark. — Businesses along Highway 5 in Bryant are asking customers to hang in there. The plea comes amid frustrating traffic jams and construction.
“It’s just a necessary evil, the way Saline County is growing,” said Nann Ring, a resident.
As Bryant and Benton grow, so does Highway 5 — a major roadway running through the two.
“I try to avoid it,” said Ring.
As Arkansas Department of Transportation continues working on the lane expansion project, drivers try to bypass it, but businesses are learning to deal with it.
“It’s out of our control, so we are just doing what we can,” said Pryce Billson, manager of Blue House Bakery and Café.
The Blue House Bakery and Café sits in a shopping center along Highway 5.
Parking didn’t used to be an issue for the café, but it is now since construction crews tore out a chunk of parking.
“They took about 15 to 20 spots,” said Billson.
Other businesses like Saline County Children’s Dentistry have made their customers aware of construction on Facebook.
The dentistry posted that the work is currently blocking its Highway 5 entrance, and giving their customers a detour.
For now, Blue House Bakery and Café managers are brainstorming and working with others around them to secure more parking for customers.
“New Life Church butts up to our property,” said Billson. “They said we can remove the retainer wall and expand our parking because they use it on Sundays, so they’ve been extremely gracious.”
Employees are working hard to keep customers coming in despite construction, but say they are thankful for their loyal customers who brave the traffic headache.
“People are having to walk a little bit, but the customers have been great. They haven’t complained too much,” said Billson.
The $17.4 million project began last January. ARDOT said it’s expected to be complete by the end of this year.