Officials to celebrate start of $102 million in projects for Bella Vista Bypass

by Jeff Della Rosa (JDellaRosa@nwabj.com) 2,308 views 

A groundbreaking ceremony for the final projects to complete the Bella Vista Bypass in Arkansas is set for 11 a.m. Oct. 15 in northern Benton County.

The ceremony will take place at the site where Arkansas Highway 549 comes to an end at Benton County Road 34. When completed, the Bella Vista Bypass will become Interstate 49.

Link here for directions to the groundbreaking ceremony.

Emery Sapp & Sons Inc. of Columbia, Mo., will build the final segments of the bypass in Arkansas over the next two years. The Arkansas Highway Commission approved Aug. 1 two bids from Emery Sapp & Sons, and the combined value of the two bids was $102.11 million.

One bid is for a 2.4-mile segment of the bypass, from Benton County Road 34 to the Missouri state line. This $35.52 million project is expected to be completed in mid-2020. The other is for a single-point urban interchange for the bypass at U.S. Highway 71B in north Bentonville. The $66.59 million project should be completed in mid-2021. The existing segments of the bypass comprise Highway 549, and the bypass will include 18.9 miles in Arkansas and Missouri.

Missouri plans to complete its portion of the bypass by summer 2022. The 4.81-mile project would be partially paid for with a $25 million federal grant the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission received in December 2018. The final projects of the bypass in Arkansas were contingent on Missouri working to complete its portion of the bypass. The Arkansas projects will be part of the $1.8 billion Connecting Arkansas Program, which was paid for with a half-cent sales tax that’s set to end in 2023. Voters approved the tax in November 2012.

U.S. Highway 71 fills the gap between the completed sections of I-49 in Missouri and Arkansas, and about 50,000 motorists per day travel the highway through nine intersections with traffic signals in Bella Vista.

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