You Ask, We Investigate: Northwest Arkansas Off-Ramp is Designed to Federal Standards

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In this week’s ‘You Ask, We Investigate’ report, KNWA’s Katelynn Zoellner found out if an off-ramp in Northwest Arkansas is designed to federal standards.

The off-ramp, which is the one you take when transitioning from Interstate 49 to Arkansas Highway 612, is located in the Lowell/Springdale area. Danny Straessle, spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Transportation, said guard rails are not required.

“There’s somewhat of an incline for that ramp as you exit I-49,” he said. “The ramp is actually designed to federal standards and does not require a guard rail on this location, because there is enough of a recovery area. Should a vehicle run off of  the road, the driver should be able to recover and get back on to the roadway there.”

Straessle said there’s been countless cars that have made the transition without any issue. 

“We haven’t had any challenges associated with this to date,” he said. “We do not have any plans to put guardrails up at this location at this time.” 

Like with anything, using this off-ramp will take some time to get used to. 

“I don’t think the motorists are really used to flyovers like what we have at this interchange,” said Straessle. “It’s a relatively new structure and to take that movement from one freeway to another requires an adjustment period. “

Straessle said there are some things you should keep in mind when using the off-ramp, especially during inclement weather. 

“We recommend motorists, when they take this exit from I-49 that they observe the speed signs that are located there and follow those as they take that exit,” he said. “Of course, there is somewhat of a curve there as well. And, any time you exit off of the interstate, you do want to reduce your speed. You don’t want to come off of an exit at the interstate speed. It’s meant to slow down.”

There is an off-ramp in Little Rock that has almost the same configuration as the one in Northwest Arkansas. Straessle said to date there’s been no challenges with it. 

If there’s something you want to know about in your community, we want to investigate it. You can send your questions to Katelynn at KZoellner@knwa.com.

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