Bypass ribbon cutting set for Sept. 30 at Arkansas-Missouri border

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 7,856 views 

Work is nearly completed on the Arkansas-Missouri Connector, or Bella Vista Bypass. This aerial photo shows a section of the interstate in Bentonville at the U.S. Highway 71 interchange.

The 18.9-mile Missouri-Arkansas Connector, or Bella Vista Bypass, will become a new Interstate 49 segment between Pineville, Mo., and Bentonville when it opens to traffic in late September or early October.

Dave Parker, public information officer for the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT), said a ribbon-cutting for the project is planned for Sept. 30. He said the project is within budget.

Emery Sapp & Sons of Columbia, Mo., was hired to complete the final two segments of the project in Arkansas, including the $66.59 million interchange at U.S. Highway 71B in northern Bentonville and the $35.52 million highway segment from Benton County Road 34 to the state line.

Emery Sapp & Sons also is completing the final segment of the project in Missouri. The company started on the $70.3 million project in April 2020.

Gregory Chapman, a district construction engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation

(MoDOT), said the 5-mile project in Missouri is on track to be completed by the end of September. Chapman said MoDOT would coordinate with ArDOT on when the highway will open to traffic. Also, he said that the two highway departments are jointly planning the ribbon-cutting, which is expected to occur at the Missouri-Arkansas state line.

Once the projects are complete and the highway opens to traffic, I-49 will run for about 290 miles between Kansas City, Mo., and Fort Smith.

Another nearby I-49 project under construction is the Exit 85 interchange, spanning Rogers and Bentonville. The interstate widening work was completed last year, but work continues on the interchange. Parker said workers will fully complete the project in late 2021. Apac-Central Inc. is the general contractor for the $26.9 million project.