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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/FLIP PUTTHOFF Officials are considering adding a second right turn lane from Southwest Regional Airport Boulevard on to South Walton Boulevard.

BENTONVILLE — The traffic waiting to turn right on to Southeast Walton Boulevard from Southwest Regional Airport Boulevard will have a shorter wait after an additional turn lane is added, said a city transportation official.

Council action

Bentonville City Council met Tuesday and approved:

• Reappointing Johnetta Dexter and appointing Tania Knudsen to the Public Art Advisory Committee.

• Spending $22,960 for artist Tylur French to create two Bike Tower Sculptures for the southwest and east gateways to the trail system.

• Reappointing Rick Simmons and appointing Mike Frost to the Airport Advisory Board.

• Certifying the rate of taxation levied on real and personal property.

Source: Staff report

Map of proposed intersection redesign in Bentonville.

The line of motorists wanting to turn right onto Southeast Walton Boulevard can back up nearly to Southwest I Street during the peak travel times, said Dennis Birge, transportation engineer.

“It should help it quite a bit,” he said of the planned additional right turn lane.

The City Council approved 7-0 Tuesday for Garv-er LLC to do design work for the turn lane for $31,850. Council member Jim Webb was absent.

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That cost will be reimbursed by the Arkansas Department of Transportation and brings the total design cost to $988,265, according to meeting documents.

The project was initially added to the widening of Southwest Regional Airport Boulevard, which was completed this spring, but was put on hold after city officials expressed discomfort with the two lanes being yield-only, Mayor Bob McCaslin said Tuesday afternoon.

“Those lanes are going to be signalized,” he said.

Southwest Regional Airport Boulevard is also Arkansas 12. It serves as the main road in and out of the city’s southwest corner.

The city and the Highway Department widened Southwest Regional Airport Boulevard from two to five lanes for 2.7 miles between Rainbow Curve on Walton Boulevard west slightly past Shell Road. The Highway Department also installed traffic signals at Greenhouse Road and Southwest Bright Road.

Construction began in November 2014 and was completed in April.

Now the plan is to add the turn lane project to the Highway Department’s project of improving the Walton Boulevard/Walnut Street interchange at Interstate 49’s exit 85, which is scheduled to start in late 2018, said Steve Lawrence, Highway Department District 9 engineer.

It’s too early to say how long construction of the additional turn lane will take but a rough estimate is nine to 12 months once work starts, according to Lawrence.

The council also approved five items relating to the Eighth Street Improvement Project, most relating to moving utilities.

Melissa Gute can be reached at mgute@nwadg.com or on Twitter@NWAMelissa.

Print Headline: Turn lane to help move traffic east

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