Final steps of long-awaited highway project begin in Northwest Arkansas


BELLA VISTA, Ark. (KNWA) — The two final steps of a long-awaited highway project began Tuesday (October 15).

The Bella Vista bypass will connect Arkansas to McDonald County, Missouri.

When it’s done, it will make driving safer for the thousands of motorists that pass through the area every day.

Arkansas Department of Transportation spokesman, Danny Straessle said people will see a lot of construction over the next several months, but it shouldn’t impact their daily commute.

“The contractor is making really good strides on what will be the northbound lanes of this interstate facility,” Straessle said. “So you’ll actually have more lanes to work with getting traffic back and forth.”

The first project is a half-mile, four-lane divided highway from Benton County Road 34 to the Missouri state line.

The second is a single point urban interchange for the bypass at Highway 71b in north Bentonville. This is the same type of interchange being built at Exit 85 in Rogers and is designed to move heavy traffic in tight areas.

Straessle said this interchange will take the place of the roundabout that’s currently there.

“The roundabout that we built was only designed to be temporary so that we could provide immediate access to the existing portion of the bypass,” Straessle said. “So we will hold on to the roundabout as long as we need it.”

Strassle said the project should be complete on the Arkansas side in 2021 and on the Missouri side by 2022. When complete, it will be called Interstate 49.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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