ArDOT wants feedback on proposed Highway 112 widening in Benton, Washington counties

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 2,317 views 

Residents will have two opportunities this week to provide comments on the nearly $193.2 million project to widen Arkansas Highway 112 from Tontitown to Bentonville. Plans show the 12-mile project will have 17 roundabouts.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) will host in-person meetings on Tuesday  (Dec. 13) and Thursday (Dec. 15) to allow residents to view maps, ask questions and provide feedback on the project to widen the highway to four lanes with a median, bike path and sidewalk. Link here for the proposed project plans.

The project spans northern Washington and southern Benton counties and includes Tontitown, Elm Springs, Cave Springs, Rogers and Bentonville. It’s divided into four jobs: a 4.4-mile segment from U.S. Highway 412 to Arkansas Highway 612, a 3.5-mile segment from Highway 612 to West Wallis Road, an 0.9-mile segment from West Wallis Road to Pleasant Grove Road and a 3.2-mile segment from Pleasant Grove Road to Arkansas Highway 12.

The Dec. 13 meeting takes place from 4 to 7 p.m. at Elm Springs United Methodist Church at 118 N. Elm St. in Elm Springs. The meeting will focus on the segment between highway 412 and 612. The Dec. 15 meeting takes place from 4 to 7 p.m. at Bentonville Community Center at 1101 S.W. Citizens Circle in Bentonville. The meeting will focus on the segments between highways 612 and 12.

Residents can select their preferred route alternatives on the meeting comment forms. They also can choose no action. Public comments will be accepted through Jan. 27.

Plans show that the total project cost from highways 412 to 612 ranges from $72.2 million to $72.4 million. Total cost includes construction and right-of-way acquisition. This segment includes two route alternatives, which largely follow the existing Highway 112. However, the slightly cheaper alternative would bypass Elm Springs to the east. Both alternatives would have eight roundabouts.

The total project cost from Highway 612 to West Wallis Road would be $64.3 million. The segment includes one route alternative, largely following the existing Highway 112 except through Cave Springs. The route would bypass Cave Springs to the west. Five roundabouts would be built in this segment.

The total project cost from West Wallis Road to Highway 12 would range from $55.4 million to $56.7 million. The segment includes two route alternatives, largely following the existing Highway 112. However, the cheaper alternative route shows the highway would be moved to the east of St. Valery Downs subdivision in Bentonville. The other alternative route shows the highway would be moved even further east of the subdivision. Four roundabouts would be included in this segment.

According to the project’s environmental assessment, “no significant adverse environmental effects were identified” in the proposed route alternatives. ArDOT and the Federal Highway Administration submitted the assessment that was approved in October.

Dave Parker, public information officer for ArDOT, said the public meetings this week should be the last for the project unless the design is changed. Another meeting could take place if changes were to take place. Otherwise, they’ll be the last public meetings before construction starts.

Parker said the work is expected to start in early 2025 and should be completed by the end of 2027.

According to ArDOT traffic data for Highway 112, an average of between 8,200 and 11,000 vehicles per day travel between highways 412 and 612. An average of between 9,100 and 14,000 vehicles per day travel between Highway 612 and West Wallis Road. An average of between 8,100 and 9,000 vehicles per day travel between West Wallis Road and Highway 12.