XNA creates task force for access road project

by Jeff Della Rosa (JDellaRosa@nwabj.com) 680 views 

Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) has formed a task force to advance the access road project and wants Hight Jackson Associates of Rogers to design a $20 million project to expand and renovate the terminal building.

Recently, the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport Authority approved the task force that will be led by former chairman Mike Johnson and selected Hight Jackson to design the terminal project. Chairman Art Formanek said the access road project is becoming more visible and more of an issue, and he suggested the task force in a recent committee meeting. Other members on the task force will include board members Stan Green and Art Morris. Along with helping to move the access road project along, it also sets a precedent for other big projects XNA needs to help advance or keep track of, Formanek said.

“I think Mr. Johnson will be excellent, and he’s passionate,” Green said. “That’s what you need in a good leader.”

Before the board approved the task force, it also approved a $600,000 study that would widen the scope of the access road project to be more than only a road from Interstate 49 to XNA. The study would show the purpose and need for the road to the Arkansas Department of Transportation, and the study is expected to be completed over four months by engineering firm CH2M Hill and planning consultant Mead & Hunt. Board member Blake Woolsey said the study will define the “why” for the project.

For the terminal project, Hight Jackson plans to work with designer RS&H, Garver, Terracon and Connico. A design contract is expected to come before the board June 20. Airport Director Kelly Johnson previously said she believes the Federal Aviation Administration will pay for 90% of the first phase of the project, which includes the work within the existing terminal. Other phases of the project include a sky bridge over the street in front of the terminal and possibly a building that would connect the parking deck to the bridge.