ArDOT to host virtual Q&A for Highway 112 projects in Northwest Arkansas

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 2,244 views 

Residents can watch virtual presentations for projects to widen nearly 12 miles of Arkansas Highway 112 from two to four lanes in Benton and Washington counties. They can ask questions about the estimated $87.9 million in projects during live virtual sessions Tuesday (Dec. 15) and Thursday (Dec. 17).

The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) will host a live question-and-answer session on the projects that will take place virtually at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Links below to register to attend the live virtual sessions.

ArDOT is seeking feedback on three projects to widen Arkansas Highway 112, between Tontitown and Bentonville. Each project has multiple alignments, or routes, that have yet to be narrowed down to one, according to the virtual presentations. Residents can provide feedback on the projects until 4:30 p.m. Jan. 1.

Dave Parker, public information officer for ArDOT, said the comments will be evaluated and adjustments will be made to the plans after the public meetings. A public meeting for location design is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2021. Construction is expected to start in 2023 with completion in 2025 or 2026.

The work that will be discussed at the virtual session Tuesday will include widening Highway 112 from U.S. Highway 412 in Tontitown to the U.S. Highway 412 bypass, or Arkansas Highway 612, north of Elm Springs. The virtual session Thursday will include two projects: widening Highway 112, from the Highway 412 bypass, or Highway 612, to West Wallis Road; and widening Highway 112, from West Wallis Road to just south of Arkansas Highway 12 in Bentonville.

The 4.43-mile project between Highway 412 and the Highway 412 bypass will be widened to four lanes with a 15-foot-wide median. In parts, the median will be 4 feet wide. Sidewalks will be included. This segment of the project includes three possible alignments, and they largely follow the existing Highway 112 route. The alignments deviate from the existing highway in Elm Springs. The alignment that deviates the most from the existing highway will run east of Elm Springs, crossing School Street and Elm Springs Road, before returning to the highway’s existing route near the Benton County line.

Multiple businesses and homes are expected to be impacted in this project, including at highways 412 and 112 in Tontitown and in Elm Springs. The project will add traffic signals at the eastbound entrance of the Highway 412 bypass and at the western exit of the bypass along Highway 112. The project also includes multiple roundabouts in Tontitown and Elm Springs.

The 3.63-mile project between the Highway 412 bypass to West Wallis Road also will widen Highway 112 from two to four lanes and include a 15-foot-wide median. Sidewalks will be included along the highway. It also has three proposed alignments. The alignments deviate from the existing highway route in Cave Springs, starting north of Pebble Beach Drive. The one that deviates the most from the existing route will bend west just north of Pebble Beach Drive and run west of Cave Springs and reconnect to the existing route north of Shores Avenue. In another alignment, the existing Highway 112 through Cave Springs will become the northbound lanes, while the southbound lanes will run on the west side of Cave Springs, from north of Pebble Beach Drive to south of Shores Avenue. This alignment will include four roundabouts connecting the north and southbound lanes in Cave Springs. The third alignment follows the existing highway route. The latter two alignments look to have the greatest impact on businesses and homes, according to the plans.

The 3.92-mile project from West Wallis Road to Highway 12 will widen Highway 112 from two to four lanes and include Cave Springs, Rogers and Bentonville. It also will have a 15-foot-wide median, and in parts, will be 4 feet wide. Sidewalks will be included. The project has two possible alignments.

The alignment that diverges the most goes east from the existing route at Lillard Lane and follows a path east of the existing road, cutting through Chattin Valley subdivision near its entrance, going east of Averie Lane, crossing Ozark Acres Drive, running between Caerleon Circle and Cook Road but remaining east of St. Valery Downs subdivision in Cave Springs, crossing Elk Road before reconnecting with the existing road northeast of Lochmoor Club subdivision in Bentonville.

Both alignments impact homes in multiple areas, plans show. The first alignment, which largely follows the existing highway route, looks to impact homes in Central Park and Lochmoor Club subdivisions where roundabouts would be added at Southwest Gator Boulevard and Elk Road. Both alignments have roundabouts at Pleasant Grove Road, but the first also has three more roundabouts, including one at Windmill Road.

Selected sections of Highway 112, from Bentonville to Fayetteville, were included on a 2019 list of nearly 50 projects across the state that ArDOT proposed for a second Connecting Arkansas Program. In 2012, voters approved a half-cent sales tax to pay for the $1.8 billion Connecting Arkansas Program. In November, voters approved Issue 1 to permanently extend the tax that was set to expire in 2023. Approval of Issue 1 was a key part of Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s $300 million highway plan.

In separate Highway 112 widening projects, Parker said design work has started on two projects south of Highway 412. A public meeting is expected in early to mid-2021 for those projects.

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