ArDOT wants feedback on north-south connector, west of I-49

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 2,412 views 

The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) is seeking feedback on the proposed alignments for a highway that would connect the Bella Vista Bypass to the U.S. Highway 412 bypass, west of Interstate 49.

Cost estimates for the Western North-South Connector range from $179.4 million to $249.2 million, according to project documents.

ArDOT will accept comments on the project through Sept. 20. Link here for project documents. The documents show four project alternatives. The first is to take no action. Another would connect the two bypasses by largely following existing Arkansas highways 279, 12 and 264.

Next, the $179.4 million alternative includes a route from the Bella Vista Bypass near Hiwasse to just south of the Northwest Arkansas National Airport (XNA) in Highfill.

Two other alternatives, one of which was estimated at $249.2 million, would run from the Bella Vista Bypass near Hiwasse to Highway 412, just west of the Benton/Washington county line.
In summer 2020, ArDOT received feedback on the project that showed 84% of respondents felt a need for a north-south connector.

Dave Parker, public information officer for ArDOT, previously said a funding source for the project had yet to be determined. Whether it would be a two- or four-lane road would depend on available funding and traffic needs. After the study team reviews public comments, a presentation will be provided to ArDOT officials and the Arkansas Highway Commission. Once funding becomes available, the next steps would include environmental review and design.

According to project documents, the study will incorporate the findings and recommendations of the XNA access road. In January 2019, the highway commission approved the study after area officials suggested a connection between the two bypasses west of I-49 and near XNA could improve regional mobility.