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story.lead_photo.caption Traffic flows Friday, May 29, 2015, along Henri de Tonti Boulevard in Tontitown near the intersection with Arkansas 112. - Photo by Andy Shupe

SPRINGDALE -- Residents along Arkansas 112 got their first look Tuesday evening at proposed improvements to make the road a four-lane, divided highway with raised medians, roundabouts and a 10-foot, multi-use sidewalk in coming years.

Tuesday's Arkansas Department of Transportation public input session focused on the portion of the road between U.S. 412 and Arkansas 612, which is the U.S. 412 Springdale Northern Bypass. Another session Thursday will focus on the portion from Arkansas 612 to Bentonville.

Most questions and comments focused on access to the road, which route will be used through Elm Springs and the area around Carrie Smith Road, which has a school nearby.

Three proposed alignments were shown Tuesday; all generally follow the current alignment, only wider. One would move the road to the east of the current alignment through part of south Elm Springs. Existing bridges would be widened or replaced as needed.

A series of roundabouts would be employed, including potentially at Firenze Avenue and Har-Ber Avenue in Springdale, Barrington Road in Tontitown, Scott Street or Water Street and Elm Springs Road/Jayro Avenue in Elm Springs. Traffic signals would be added at Arkansas 612.

The intersection of Arkansas 112 and U.S. 412 in Tontitown would be straightened to take out the existing curve.

Traffic speeds would be 45 miles per hour outside towns and 25 miles per hour in town.

Plans are preliminary and can be changed, based on comments received, according to highway department staff. Construction is envisioned to begin in early 2023 and take a couple of years. Estimated cost is about $30 million.

If you missed it, the presentation was recorded and can be viewed at the Arkansas Department of Transportation website. The website also has project materials and handouts shown at the in-person meeting. A separate link on the page provides a Spanish version of the presentation. There is also an option to send online comment forms to department staff. Comment forms can also be printed, filled out and mailed to Environmental Division, 10324 Interstate 30, Little Rock, AR 72209, until Jan. 1.

Those without internet access may contact Karla Sims at 501-569-2000 to ask questions about the proposed project and how to access project information. Questions can be emailed to [email protected]

Making Arkansas 265 a major north/south connection in coming years is part of the regional Transportation Improvement Program for Northwest Arkansas.

In the Region's four-year Transportation Improvement Program there's about $90.3 million identified for Arkansas 112, said Tim Conklin, assistant director at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission.

"What that means is you will see significant work between Fayetteville Bentonville on [Arkansas] 112 in the future," Conklin said recently.

The project will create a complete road that is also walkable, bikable and transit-ready. Safety measures will include access management, which is limiting where cars can enter the road; raised medians to divide traffic; and roundabouts aimed at reducing serious injury and fatality crashes.

Access management is expected to be achieved by using raised medians with breaks no more than every quarter mile and traffic signals at no more than half mile intervals.

The projects will also be included in the region's 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan.

Regional Planners in January 2019 agreed to move forward with a vision for Arkansas 112 as a four-lane, north/south corridor with managed access. The Arkansas Department of Transportation is ultimately responsible for doing the design and work.

The primary purpose of the improvements is to allow the road to carry significant local and regional traffic, according to the planning documents. Arkansas 112 is the only major north/south route through the metro region west of Interstate 49, which makes it critical for regional mobility as the area continues to grow, according to the document.

The region's population is projected to be close to 1 million by 2045.

A 2015 study of Arkansas 112 tentatively recommended four lanes from Fayetteville to Bentonville, widening and straightening several curves and bypassing at least one town, Cave Springs.

On either end, Bentonville and Fayetteville have already implemented raised medians, turn lanes, limited curb cuts, signal spacing and other access management strategies on portions of the road.

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Make your voice heard

A second online meeting Thursday will focus on the widening of Arkansas 112 between Arkansas 612/Springdale Northern Bypass and Arkansas 12 through the cities of Springdale, Cave Springs, Rogers and Bentonville. Residents can ask questions and make comments during an online presentation from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The public is invited to listen, view meeting materials and provide written comments.

The website will be available for comments until 4:30 p.m. Jan. 1.

Link To Virtual Meeting: https://vpiph02-virtual-lobby-012305-090513-090514-ardot.hub.arcgis.com/

The link will take you to the online neighborhood public meeting website. This website will provide project materials and handouts that would have been shown at the in-person meetings. A separate link on the page will provide a Spanish version of the presentation. There will also be an option to send online comment forms to department staff. Comment forms can also be printed, filled out and mailed to Environmental Division, 10324 Interstate 30, Little Rock, AR 72209.

Those without internet access may contact Karla Sims at 501-569-2000 to ask questions about the proposed project and how to access project information. Questions can be emailed to [email protected]

Source: ArDOT

Ron Wood can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @NWARDW.

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