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Bella Vista Bypass Hits $25M Bump in the Road

BELLA VISTA, AR -- Missouri is short on cash to finish their end of the Bella Vista Bypass, but the lack of funds will not force the project to be postponed here in Arkansas.
BELLA VISTA, AR -- Missouri is short on cash to finish their end of the Bella Vista Bypass, but the lack of funds will not force the project to be postponed here in Arkansas.

"You've got to take lemons and make lemonade. You've got to be positive."

The Bella Vista Bypass is hitting a slight bump in the road.

"About two weeks ago, we found out that Missouri says they're $25-million short to tie into us at the Missouri line... We're going to work with them and we're going to make this possible," said Arkansas State Highway Commissioner Dick Trammel.

Voters passed a half-cent tax to fund the project years ago, and sections of the project are already under construction. That progress will not be put on pause.

"They're not going to see tractors stop and everything disappear. In fact today, they're pouring concrete... What the voters voted for in Bella Vista will happen."

Crews are currently building the bypass from the Highway 71 and Interstate 540 interchange up to Hiwasse.

"When we get that finished, that will be usable almost all the way up to the Missouri line. That part will take, in our projections, 4,000 to 6,000 maybe 8,000 cars a day off of that strip of 71 coming out of Missouri now."

Trammel said the final 2.5 mile stretch that meets the state line will be the last leg completed.

"That money will be set aside to finish that part... We don't want to build a road to nowhere."

And he reassures the two-lane Bella Vista Bypass that was promised, will become reality.

"I've got 5 1/2 years left and if I don't die or they don't get rid of me, we're gonna get that sucker finished, okay?"

Drivers will hopefully be able to enjoy the bypass in a couple of years, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel -- or bypass.


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