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SPRINGDALE -- Missouri highway officials said they budgeted some of the money needed to meet up with Arkansas' portion of the Bella Vista Bypass but not enough to finish the job right now.

Darin Hamelink, area engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation, said $20 million is budgeted in 2020 for construction of the 4.81-mile project, but another $30 million is needed to finish the road.

All right of way has been acquired, Hamelink told regional planning commissioners Wednesday in an informal briefing. He said the environmental impact statement still needs to be done. Preliminary design work is complete but $3 million must be allocated to finish the plans, he said.

Hamelink said Missouri is dealing with a shortage of highway money.

"We're basically treading water and taking care of what we've got, our roads and bridges," Hamelink said. "We're not planning any new construction at this time."

Missouri officials, at one time, said they had money in hand to go ahead with the project when Arkansas was ready. Arkansas wasn't ready at that point and Missouri switched the money to other projects.

Arkansas has since passed a bond issue and a sales tax dedicated to highway projects.

Crews on the Arkansas side are constructing about 6 miles of the bypass, extending from U.S. 71B to Arkansas 72. The project involves the initial two lanes of a four-lane road. Portions of the bypass around Hiwasse are completed and open to traffic.

The Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission's long-range transportation plan and four-year transportation improvement plan includes building the bypass to the state line and a major interchange at Interstate 49 in Bentonville.

The statewide Transportation Improvement Plan includes finishing four lanes of the Bella Vista Bypass to the Missouri state line. The 2016 to 2020 plan identifies some $50 million for the Bella Vista Bypass.

Arkansas Highway Commission Chairman Dick Trammel told regional planners in March that finishing the Bella Vista Bypass to the state line will be dependent on how quickly Missouri moves to finish its section. But, Trammel said of Arkansas' side, "It's in the plans."

Metro on 05/26/2016

Print Headline: Missouri needs $30M more to finish bypass

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