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Highway department extends comment period for study on north-south connector between Bella Vista, Springdale

by Ron Wood | September 19, 2021 at 5:00 a.m.
Construction of the Bella Vista Bypass, also known as the Interstate 49 Missouri/Arkansas Connector, is on schedule to be open to traffic in the fall, according to highway officials in Arkansas and Missouri. Check out nwaonline.com/210325Daily/ and nwadg.com/photos for a photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Spencer Tirey)

The Arkansas Department of Transportation is extending the public comment period on the western north-south connector study, which will consider a new highway from the Springdale Northern Bypass to the Bella Vista Bypass.

The public is invited to view meeting materials online and provide written comments. The website WNSConnector.TransportationPlanRoom.com will be available for comments until 4:30 p.m. Oct. 3.

The Transportation Department's study started last summer to determine if a highway is needed, to identify feasible alternatives and to develop cost estimates. The department came up with two alternatives.

One passes near Northwest Arkansas National Airport. The second begins at the proposed future airport access road and runs west of the airport, then north, connecting with the Bella Vista Bypass at Hiwasse or east of town.

Those two routes would provide greater benefit to the transportation system by providing connectivity and access, travel time savings and system redundancy. They also would have the least impact on communities and the environment. Another alternative no longer being considered would have run almost directly north, passing west of the airport and connecting with the Bella Vista Bypass at Hiwasse.

The study looked at an oval-shaped area west of Bentonville and Arkansas 112 and east of Springtown, Decatur and Gravette. It stretches from the Bella Vista Bypass on the north to U.S. 412 on the south. The airport sits roughly in the middle.

The 2040 Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Transportation Plan proposes north-south corridor improvements within the study area west of Interstate 49.

The main goal is to improve connectivity with secondary goals of improving mobility, relieving congestion, improving safety and reliability and strengthening the region's economic competitiveness.

The study is related to another Transportation Department study looking at an access road to the airport. The department is doing an environmental assessment to evaluate possible routes. This new connector road study will incorporate the findings and recommendations of the access road study.

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Have your voice heard

The Arkansas Department of Transportation is inviting the public to view meeting materials and provide written comments on a proposed western north-south connector between the Springdale Northern Bypass and the Bella Vista Bypass.

The website WNSConnector.TransportationPlanRoom.com is available for comments until 4:30 p.m. Oct. 3. This website will provide project materials and handouts that would have been shown at an in-person meeting. A separate link (on the website) will provide a Spanish version of the presentation. There will also be an option to send online comment forms to project staff, or you can print the form and mail it to Garver, Attn: Lindi Miller, 4701 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock, AR 72118.

Anyone with limited internet access or general questions or comments regarding the study or virtual public meeting may call the ARDOT Transportation Planning and Policy Division at (501) 569-2592.

Source: ARDOT

Print Headline: Time extended to comment on western north-south connector

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