Sep 27, 2023 - News

NWA's Arkansas 112 widening gets federal go-ahead

Map courtesy of the Arkansas Department of Transportation

The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) is closer to kicking off its plan to widen Arkansas 112 from Tontitown to Bentonville.

What's happening: The Federal Highway Administration ruled Monday that the proposed widening "would have no significant impact on the human or natural environment," allowing the state to start acquiring land for the right-of-way.

Why it matters: The once semisecret shortcut to avoid Interstate 49 just to its west has grown increasingly crowded, as more homes are built west of Bentonville and travelers look for quicker routes to Northwest Arkansas National Airport.

  • As people continue moving into NWA, mobility remains a key concern for regional leaders.

Details: The project calls for widening 12 miles of Arkansas 112 in four phases from U.S. 412 on the south side to Arkansas 12 to the north.

  • Another 5.5 miles of the road south of Tontitown (U.S. 412) is being improved in a separate project.
  • Plans for all 17.5 miles call for four lanes separated by a raised median, a 12-foot paved bike path and a 5-foot pedestrian sidewalk, said Tim Conklin, executive director of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission.
  • Twenty-six roundabouts will be installed to reduce fatalities, he tells Axios.

Threat level: The 12-mile project will require right-of-way acquisition of more than 200 acres, according to the Federal Highway Administration. As planned, it will cause 26 residential relocations and 17 business relocations.

The bottom line: The 12-mile widening project will cost an estimated $160 million, according to the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, which will be funded through an existing half-cent sales tax.

  • Yes, but: Federal grants and separate funding will be required to pay for the bike path, Conklin tells us.

What we're watching: Construction is planned to begin in 2025.

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