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Regional planners look to dole out $9 million for 2022 projects in Northwest Arkansas

by Ron Wood | July 29, 2021 at 7:19 a.m.
Tim Conklin, of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission, is shown in this file photo.

SPRINGDALE -- Regional planners have a list of proposed transportation and trail projects for next year that will use about $9 million the region receives from the Federal Highway Administration.

Three of those projects, in Fayetteville and Springdale, are expected to receive more than $1 million each.

For the first time, the amount of requests basically matches the money available, according to Tim Conklin, assistant director at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission. In past years, requests far exceeded the money the region receives. For example, there were more than $18 million in requests for money to be distributed in 2021, when there was about $11 million available.

"We estimate that about $9.1 million will be available to our region for 2022," Conklin said.

Springdale is requesting $1.6 million for construction on Gene George Boulevard.

Fayetteville is requesting $1.5 million for construction of a streetscape project along North College Avenue between North Street and Township Street.

Fayetteville also is requesting $1.5 million for design, environmental work, utility moving and right-of-way and for a project to improve the interchange at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Interstate 49. The project is in cooperation with the state Transportation Department.

Springdale is also seeking $909,050 for right-of-way and utility moving on the Gene George Boulevard Phase III project.

Lowell is asking for $730,000 for environmental work, right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation and construction on intersection improvements at Bloomington Street (U.S. 71B) and West Monroe Avenue (Arkansas 264).

Benton County is asking for $500,000 for construction of a replacement bridge on Wagon Wheel Road.

Bentonville is asking for $500,000 for design and environmental work on an intersection at Southwest Regional Airport Boulevard and South Vaughn Road.

Siloam Springs is requesting $376,000 for construction of a bike side path along North Mount Olive Street between Dawn Hill Road and Carl Street.

Fayetteville is asking for $250,000 for construction of the Heritage Trail and a tunnel under Arkansas 112.

Gentry is asking for $250,000 for a signal and intersection improvements at West Third Street (Arkansas 12) and South Gentry Boulevard (Arkansas 59). The project is in cooperation with the state highway department.

Siloam Springs is requesting $220,000 for improvements to East Kenwood Street, including widening and a side path.

Lowell is asking for $150,000 for improvements at the intersection of Monroe Avenue (Arkansas 264), Bellview Road and Spring Creek Road.

Bentonville and Centerton are requesting $112,000 for improvements to Greenhouse Road between Arkansas 12 and Arkansas 102.

The regional planning commission does not award money for all phases of a project at one time due to regulatory requirements on federal money, so projects are awarded money over several years as different phases of each project are ready. Spending the money requires state highway department and Federal Highway Administration approval.

The money, based on the area's population, is administered by the regional planning commission and comes from the Federal Highway Administration's Surface Transportation Block Grant Program and Transportation Alternatives Program. The Transportation Alternatives Program targets trails and bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

The requests will be reviewed and forwarded to the Policy Committee of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission for final approval next month.

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Projects submitted

Regional planners have submitted every project in the region’s 2045 Regional Transportation Plan to the Arkansas Department of Transportation for inclusion in their state list of projects over the next 25 years. To be eligible for federal assistance, the projects must be included in the state’s Surface Transportation Improvement Plan. Construction alone for the projects is estimated at about $700 million in today’s money.

Source: Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission

Print Headline: Regional planners looking at money for 2022 projects


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