Some big Interstate 49 projects nearing completion, others coming soon

Posted: November 25, 2017 at 1:02 a.m.

Work continues Wednesday along Interstate 49 near Central Avenue in Bentonville.

Work is wrapping up on a couple of big Interstate 49 projects in Benton and Washington counties and another is significantly ahead of schedule, according to two Arkansas Department of Transportation district engineers.

Work continues Wednesday along Interstate 49 near Central Avenue in Bentonville.

Project financing

The $1.8 billion Connecting Arkansas Program is one of the largest road construction programs the Arkansas Department of Transportation has undertaken. The 35 projects in the program are expected to widen and upgrade 200 miles of major highways and interstates across the state. It is funded primarily by a temporary half-percentage-point increase in the statewide sales tax voters approved in 2012. The tax expires in 2023.

In 2011, voters permitted the department to issue up to $575 million in bonds to help finance a $1.2 billion program to rebuild the sections of the state’s interstate system that are in the poorest condition. A 4-cent-a-gallon increase in the tax on diesel fuel, enacted by the Legislature in 1999, also is part of the package.

Projects in Northwest Arkansas are expected to receive about $375 million. They include widening Interstate 540 between Fayetteville and Bentonville along with interchange improvements; completion of the Bella Vista Bypass; and beginning construction of the U.S. 412 Springdale Bypass from Interstate 540 to Arkansas 112.

Source: Staff report

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