The Jefferson County Road Department this week has been working to alleviate a bottleneck in front of James Matthews Elementary School on Dollarway Road.

Lloyd Franklin III, the chief of staff for County Judge Henry “Hank” Wilkins IV, said the project is one of many Wilkins is planning to improve the community and involves the creation of a new road behind the school.

“The problem was that there was only one driveway into the school so the buses, and the parents picking up their children, had to use it … it caused traffic to back up on Dollarway Road,” Franklin said. “It was so bad that some parents were checking their kids out of school 30 minutes early to beat the traffic.”

Since the Dollarway School District serves students from Altheimer, Wabbaseka and other communities across the Arkansas River, Franklin said morning and afternoon traffic is extremely heavy and the one driveway compounded the problem. To correct the issue, Franklin said the road department has built a two-lane road behind the school that comes off Redbud Street, where there is currently a traffic light.

“That way the buses can pull behind the school and drop the children off at the back,” Franklin said. “We also created extra space for the teachers to park and to park buses that some of the teachers so they can get out of class and go right to their bus.”

He said the two-lane road is currently rock and there are plans to pave it in the future.

“With school starting here in a couple of weeks, we think this new road is really going to help,” Franklin said.