New highway west of Interstate 49 would connect 2 bypasses

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 4,470 views 

Work continues on the Bella Vista Bypass, which will become Interstate 49. The Arkansas Department of Transportation is studying a project that would connect the bypass to the U.S. Highway 412 bypass, or Springdale Northern Bypass.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) continues to study a project that would connect the Bella Vista Bypass to the U.S. Highway 412 bypass, or Springdale Northern Bypass. Meanwhile, construction remains on schedule for the Bella Vista Bypass, or Missouri-Arkansas Connector.

In summer 2020, ArDOT received feedback on the Western North-South Connector, a north-south corridor west of Interstate 49.

“We are currently performing a detailed evaluation of several alignments,” said Dave Parker, public information officer for ArDOT. “Early discussions have already taken place with local leaders, and we are modifying alternatives based on their feedback.”

Public meetings on the Western North-South Connector project are expected to take place this summer, he said. ArDOT will present potential alignments for the corridor and an “assessment of their utility,” Parker noted.

“Detailed information, including corridor lengths and cost estimates, are not currently available but will be available at the future public involvement meetings,” he added. A funding source has yet to be determined. Whether it would be a two- or four-lane road would depend on available funding and traffic needs.

After internal review and additional stakeholder meetings, a final report will be submitted to the Arkansas Highway Commission.

“The final report would include the feasibility evaluation of the alternative alignments and any recommendations for future construction as funding is identified,” he said.

If the commission adopts the study, ArDOT will work with area agencies and metropolitan planning organization Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission to add the project to their plans and recommend to protect right-of-way and identify funding for recommended improvements, he said. With funding identified, an environmental study would be required. Project design would follow.

“In summary, any construction is likely many years from happening,” Parker said.

The Missouri-Arkansas Connector, or Bella Vista Bypass, is on track to be completed this fall. An event is being planned for late September or early October. The I-49 project runs from Pineville, Mo., to Bentonville.