A new study released by the Arkansas Department of Transportation shows the Bella Vista Bypass in Benton County isn’t fully alleviating congestion for Highway 71 drivers.
The study shows that the intersection of Mercy Way and U.S. 71 in Bella Vista has seen the most traffic accidents.
Stephanie Jones Lives in Bella Vista. She said, “It’s just constant traffic.”
The Arkansas Department of Transportation says the bypass is meant to take some of the congestion off of U.S. 71 once it’s fully built. Arkansas Department of Transportation Spokesperson, Danny Straessle said, “Mainly the Bella Vista Bypass will remove the large truck traffic that is traveling through the area.”
Some who live in the area say they haven’t seen much change since a portion of the bypass opened. Chase Fogle lives in Bella Vista and says the traffic lights are one of the biggest issues he’s seen on U.S. 71. “These lights. The camera lights, they’re not very long. It’s only on the highway that it gets that way, so you get backed up pretty easily.”
The department said the sudden traffic lights on Highway 71 are partially part of the problem and add they’re looking for solutions. Straessle said, “It’s simply a capacity issue. You don’t have enough lanes on U.S. 71 to accommodate all of the traffic at the peak times.”
ArDot said more than 40-thousand drivers cross into Northwest Arkansas from Missouri crowding U.S. 71.
Locals say they feel the pain from the heavy traffic. Stephanie Jones lives in Bella Vista. She said, “There’s more traffic noise. Because they have no choice. They either come down Highlands Blvd or they cut down Glasgow Road to cut down Glasgow Drive.”
ArDOT said it’s looking for solutions but for the time being they can’t fund anything.”Widening, adding an extra lane to U.S. 71 through town, which is a very expensive option, because we’ve got right of way to purchase and that would impact businesses and parking and things like that,” Straessle said.
Some drivers are just glad traffic is now flowing elsewhere. Allison Haub Commutes to Bella Vista. She said. “It’s been a lot smoother as the round-a-bout and the bypass goes. I feel like before the round-a-bout, it would very easily get congested.”
For the full study follow this link –> http://file:///C:/Users/cbrown/Downloads/Highway%2071%20Executive%20Summary%20FINAL%20DRAFT.pdf