Completion of the Eighth Street interchange along Interstate 49 in Bentonville has fallen behind schedule because of contractor delays, said Danny Straessle, public information officer for the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT).
The estimated completion date is late March 2019, but the completion date for the $28.8 million project was originally set for Nov. 3. After this date, the contractor could face liquidated damages of $750 per day, Straessle said. Previously, work was expected to be completed in September.
In March 2017, Crossland Construction Co. started construction on the interchange project that will extend Eighth Street from Moberly Lane to Interstate 49. Workers are building a braided interchange, the first in the state, and the design is required because of its proximity to the Highway 102 interchange.
Recently, the contractor had to remove a mechanically stabilized earth wall, or reinforced soil wall, east of the northbound lanes along I-49. The wall was removed as it didn’t meet specification tolerances, Straessle said, adding that the rework is at no additional cost to ARDOT and was completed in nearly four weeks.
Meanwhile, utility relocation work should be completed in December for the widening of Eighth Street, between Moberly Lane and Southwest I Street. The plan was to complete the work by July, with the widening project to start after that, but utility companies are still working to relocate utilities. Once work on the 2-mile widening project starts, it should be completed in two years. It’s expected to cost between $13 million and $16 million, and the city of Bentonville is seeking ARDOT funding for it, said Dennis Birge, transportation engineer for the city. The existing street will be widened from two lanes to a four-lane boulevard with a median. A 10-foot-wide trail will be included along the south side of the street.