NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The 2020 census confirmed Benton and Washington counties are experiencing a surge in population and local leaders are working to accommodate more people coming to the region.
Tim Conklin, assistant director of NWA Regional Planning Commission, said the area’s growth comes with a lot of challenges.
“All of the cities, the counties all have had to work to make sure we keep up with the infrastructure,” Conklin said.
U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, said leaders are going to need to address NWA’s growing pains.
“Being able to deal with water and wastewater issues and traffic and commerce and those kind of things are all impacted by the lack of infrastructure,” Womack said.
Conklin said NWA Regional Planning is trying to improve that infrastructure through projects like Highway 112.
“We’re working on a vision for Highway 112 from Bentonville, down to Fayetteville, an 18 mile corridor,” Conklin said. “That vision is to look at how to improve it with access management intersection design that helps reduce fatalities and serious injuries.”
Both Womack and Conklin said all the cities in the region are going to need to work together to plan for the future and ensure the area continues to have a high quality of life for residents.