Area officials pleased with highway work, more on the way

story by Jamie Smith
jsmith@thecitywire.com

It’s hard to travel anywhere in Northwest Arkansas and not see evidence of many ongoing road construction projects—and officials say the orange barrel phenomenon is going to be a steady sight in the next few years.

“People will have to learn how to drive by barrels for the next several years,” said Patsy Christie, director of planning and community development for the city of Springdale.

Two highly visible, ongoing projects include the addition of the Don Tyson Parkway interchange under construction in Springdale and the Fayetteville Flyover under construction near the Northwest Arkansas Mall in north Fayetteville.

AHEAD OF SCHEDULE
Christie said work on the Don Tyson Parkway interchange is on schedule and may be ahead of schedule.

“It’s moving really well,” she said. “We would like to have some of the ramp paved by the end of the year. They’ve been doing a lot of night work to allow them to close 540 at 15 minute intervals at a time (and not interrupt daytime traffic as much).”

The interchange is a $23 million project that is a joint city and federally funded endeavor. The interchange is scheduled to open in August 2014 and will give drivers access to the Interstate without having to take the already congested Highway 412 through Springdale.

The $6.3 million Fayetteville Flyover is running ahead of schedule, reports Chris Brown city engineer.

“The main structure of the bridge is up and you can see the form of the bridge,” he said. “The contractor has been working on getting reinforcing steel in place in preparation of pouring the concrete deck (driving surface).”

Most of the road closures have been limited to the nighttime hours for this project as well. The contract calls for the project to open July 2014.

UPCOMING WORK
The last six months have been a flurry of planning and scheduling as the half-cent sales tax being collected and more planned highway projects were scheduled.

According to information from the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, several projects besides the Don Tyson Interchange are underway. A major widening project near the Porter Road interchange started this summer and preparation work on Highway 2 for the Bella Vista Bypass is also underway.

Several projects are scheduled to be let in late 2013 including widening at Wagon Wheel Road and improvements to the interchanges at the Elm Springs Road exit ($4 million) and the Johnson Mill Boulevard exit ($2 million).

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The year of 2014 will be a busy one with seven projects on the slab for being let during that year. Specific months were not indicated but the following projects are up next.
• Widening 540 at the New Home Road to Highway 102 interchanges
• Improvements to the Highway 62 interchange ($25 million)
• Improvements to the Highway 16/112 interchange ($19 million)
• Improvements to the Highway 264 interchange ($5 million)
• Major widening at 112 and 540 ($125 million)
• Improvements to Wagon Wheel Road interchange ($2 million)
Construction of the Bella Vista Bypass. ($30 million)

Link here for a PDF map detailing highway work in Benton and Washington counties.

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