SPRINGDALE -- A regional planning committee forwarded recommendations Thursday for distributing federal money for transportation and trails projects next year.
Cities and counties in Northwest Arkansas applied for a share of about $8.5 million in federal money the region typically receives each year for local projects. The money, based on the area's population, is administered by Regional Planning.
Tim Conklin, assistant director at the commission, cautioned the money hasn't yet been allocated by the federal government.
"This is all subject to Congress acting and funding levels," Conklin said. "There's a significant reduction in vehicle miles traveled and fuel taxes, I have no idea what amount of money will be coming to our region. We're basing it on past years."
An additional $3.1 million from a federal highway infrastructure program fund is available to the region and was added to the recommendations, bringing the anticipated total amount of money available to $11.6 million.
There were more than $18 million in requests for money to be distributed in 2021, and the list was pared by a Technical Advisory Committee subcommittee.
Should more money become available, it would be applied to projects either passed over for money or were given only a portion of the money requested.
"It's kind of a guess right now," Conklin said. "Either we might have significantly less or we could have significantly more money."
The recommendations, approved by the full Technical Advisory Committee on Thursday, will be forwarded to the Policy Committee of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission for final approval.
Among the project recommendations:
• Bella Vista: Mercy Way bridge and road improvements and extension of the Northwest Arkansas Razorback Greenway, $2.5 million for construction.
• Benton County: Wagon Wheel Road bridge replacement, $1.2 million for construction. The county had requested $1.5 million.
• Bentonville: Razorback Greenway relocation at the new Interstate 49 interchange, $250,000 for construction.
• Bentonville/Centerton: Greenhouse Road improvements between Arkansas 12 and Arkansas 102, $850,000 for design and environmental study. The request was for $1.1 million.
• Farmington: Arkansas 170 improvements from U.S. 62 to Clyde Carnes Road, $1.9 million for construction.
• Fayetteville: Sain Street extension, $2.5 million for construction.
• Lowell: Arkansas 264/Bellview Road intersection improvements, $750,000 for right of way, utility moving and construction.
• Siloam Springs: Lake Francis Drive/Washington Street sidewalks, $125,000 for construction. The request was for $272,000.
• Springdale: Watkins Avenue bike/pedestrian bridge over I-49, $125,000 for construction. The request was for $500,000.
• Springdale: Gene George Boulevard, Phase II, $1 million for right of way and utility moving. The request was for $3.2 million.
• Tontitown: U.S. 412/Klenc Road traffic signal, $360,000 for all phases.
Three projects not funded include extending Don Tyson Parkway from 56th Street to Arkansas 112 in Springdale, $2.5 million was requested for right of way and utilities; Arkansas 112 side path in Fayetteville, $470,000 was requested for construction; and widening Razorback Road by the stadium on the University of Arkansas campus, $680,000 was requested for construction.
Part of Greenway expected to close
A portion of the Razorback Greenway where it passes through the new Interstate 49 interchange being constructed in north Bentonville is expected to close in the next couple of weeks for a significant period of time due to the ongoing work. A temporary, alternative connection is being sought. Highway officials said the greenway, which is being moved out of a flood way in that area, could be closed until the interchange project is finished, which could be up to a year.
Source: Staff reports
Ron Wood can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NWARDW.