ArDOT asks for comments on $85 million XNA access highway

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 3,498 views 

The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) is seeking feedback on a new four-lane highway that would connect Northwest Arkansas National Airport (XNA) in Highfill to Arkansas Highway 612, or the U.S. Highway 412 bypass.

The estimated $85.6 million project would be 3.4 miles and include interchanges at Highway 612, and when traffic warrants, at the existing entrance to XNA along Arkansas Highway 264. ArDOT recently released a virtual presentation on the project that shows it’s planned to be built following the construction of the Highway 612 extension from Arkansas Highway 112 to Highway 412. Link here for project documents.

A live virtual meeting is set to take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 26. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and make comments. Garver, in coordination with ArDOT and the Federal Highway Administration, will conduct the live Microsoft Teams meeting.

The XNA access highway will be a four-lane, divided highway for 2.5 miles and designed for speeds of 70 mph. Between Holmes Road and Highway 264, the road would become two lanes with a 55 mph speed limit. A traffic light would be installed at the intersection with Highway 264. Based on traffic levels, the two-lane highway segment would be widened to four lanes and an interchange would be built at Highway 264. Also, and an overpass would be built over Highway 264 to connect with a realigned Airport Boulevard.

The new highway will not have any driveway or local road connections, and access will only be allowed at the interchanges. Overpasses will be built at Holmes Road, Haden Road and Wager Drive, allowing the roads to remain open but without connection to the XNA access highway. Bridges also will be built over Little Osage Creek and Osage Creek.

The deadline to submit comments on the project is 4:30 p.m. Nov. 10.

In March, ArDOT hosted a public hearing regarding the location of the new highway, and feedback from that virtual meeting showed the preferred route was the most direct route to the airport.

“Currently, access to XNA is provided by Highway 264 to the south and Highway 12 to the north,” according to the presentation. “Both roads are mostly winding, narrow, two-lane highways and include multiple 90-degree curves. Consequently, this poor connectivity between Interstate 49 and XNA causes motorists misdirection and delays when traveling to and from XNA.”

The XNA access road was one of the proposed projects that would be paid for with receipts from the half-cent sales tax. In November, voters approved extending the tax for highway projects.