Two Faulkner County roads will see improvements after receiving $280,000 in matching grant funds from the state, officials said.

Faulkner County Judge Jim Baker said two applications his office submitted to the Arkansas Hazard Mitigation Program were selected for funding — Ridge Drive and Ritchie Lane.

The state’s Hazard Mitigation Program matches funds for improvements “on infrastructure that has a repeated history of flood damage,” officials said.

Judge Baker said Ridge Drive and Ritchie Lane meet the requirements.

“We identified two of our roads that often have to be closed for extended periods of time during heavy rains,” he said. “Faulkner County residents, including school buses and emergency vehicles, have to detour nearly 14 miles when Ridge Lane is closed and over 5 miles when Ritchie Road is closed.”

Baker said the county will improve the bridges on both roads as well.

“Both of these roads have undersized bridges, and with these matching funds we can build up these roads and install the appropriate sized bridges to alleviate the flooding problems with these roads,” he said.

Baker said he tries to apply for state or federal partnerships whenever it’s appropriate.

“It is important to me to be a good steward of the taxpayers’ money,” he said.  “We could have repaired these two roads with only Faulkner County taxpayer dollars, but by taking the time to apply for this matching grant money, we were able to save the Faulkner County taxpayers over a quarter of a million dollars on these two projects alone.”

During Baker’s tenure, he has procured more than $7 million in state and federal funding, with an additional $8,3 million for improving and widening Highway 36 from Highway 64 to Rose Bud next year, and more than $24 million in federal and state dollars for the Mayflower overpass, slated for construction in 2020.