mcheiss

Transportation Projects, Roads, Light Rail, etc

Future Proposed Northwest Arkansas Transportation Projects  

103 members have voted

  1. 1. Which Project is the best option for the future of Northwest Arkansas?

    • 10 Stop Light Rail System
      33
    • Western Bypass
      15
    • I-540 Improvements (6 to 8 lanes)
      35
    • Eastern Parkway
      6
    • Regionwide Bus Service
      8
    • Pedestrian Facilities
      1
    • Bicycle Facilities
      4
    • Ride Share Programs
      1


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Fayetteville is still hesitant about joining the regional mobility authority. One council member said that it was a big decision to join but gave no clear reason to not do so. Another council member did make the point that the only way to have an impact on what projects are chosen is to be a member of it. Most other local cities are joining and this seems like a great way to have the regional cooperation that is needed for the metro area to continue to prosper. It's clear that the state and federal government are not going to meet the transportations needs that we have and another method needs to be found. I would think that state and federal help might be more likely if the authority is pitching in to fund projects.

NWA Times article

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Fayetteville is still hesitant about joining the regional mobility authority. One council member said that it was a big decision to join but gave no clear reason to not do so. Another council member did make the point that the only way to have an impact on what projects are chosen is to be a member of it. Most other local cities are joining and this seems like a great way to have the regional cooperation that is needed for the metro area to continue to prosper. It's clear that the state and federal government are not going to meet the transportations needs that we have and another method needs to be found. I would think that state and federal help might be more likely if the authority is pitching in to fund projects.

NWA Times article

Yeah I've missed out on some of the news in the past couple of weeks. But I did hear that Fayetteville seemed hesitant, but it seems like most of the other cities seem to be more favorable to it. I was thinking some other city or cities might have joined up while I was away. Just seems bad to me if Fayetteville waits till every other municipality has already joined. Or even worse they somehow try to stay independent of all this and go it alone.

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I wanted to get some of your thoughts on a new interchange going in at I-44 and 13 in Springfield. The reason I posted this in your forum is because I thought that with NWA finding it hard to get funding for its major roads/ interchanges, I believe this would be a very fast, cheap, and easy way to solve at least some of the traffic problems down there.

MoDOT's plan for rebuilding the I-44/Route 13 interchange in Springfield is called a Diverging Diamond Interchange. It's the first of its type built in the USA. The I-44/Route 13 (Kansas Expressway) project is aimed at reducing congestion and improving safety at the interchange. The Interchange will be quicker, cheaper to build than a more conventional interchange project. The I-44/Route 13 interchange project is estimated to cost $2.5 million and construction is scheduled to begin in January 2009 with completion in the summer/fall of 2009.

DDI-Still-1.gif

The Diverging Diamond Interchange design allows the opposing lanes of Route 13 to criss-cross at traffic signals at the ends of the bridge over I-44. Crossing the bridge, oncoming traffic is on the right, separated by concrete barriers and screening.

DDI-Still-2.gif

This will give left-turning vehicles on Route 13 a "free left" to the I-44 on-ramp. At the same time, traffic continuing north or south on Route 13 will be able to travel more steadily THROUGH the interchange.

DDI-Still-3.gif

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I wanted to get some of your thoughts on a new interchange going in at I-44 and 13 in Springfield. The reason I posted this in your forum is because I thought that with NWA finding it hard to get funding for its major roads/ interchanges, I believe this would be a very fast, cheap, and easy way to solve at least some of the traffic problems down there.

I'm not sure I like it. There are a lot of merging lanes and those may actually reverse any benefit gained by having the criss-crossing through lanes, which don't look that beneficial either. But, I'm no expert and only time will tell if it actually works. It does look more affordable than flyovers, but more expensive than a traditional interchange. Another thing is it looks like a fender bender magnet.

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The concept looks interesting but I think it will take some training before people "get it". I think they way they show Route 13 backed up there will be pretty spot on!!! I also don't think it would help NWA since a major issue there is lane space on the main arteries on not really interchanges. Car count on I540 is too high for a mere 2 lanes.

I think they'd be MUCH better off with a pair of traffic circles on 13 instead of this crossover at a light concept. I hated circles when I first used them but after a while you realize that they really do keep traffic moving along quite nicely!

Edited by Stormcrow

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The concept looks interesting but I think it will take some training before people "get it". I think they way they show Route 13 backed up there will be pretty spot on!!! I also don't think it would help NWA since a major issue there is lane space on the main arteries on not really interchanges. Car count on I540 is too high for a mere 2 lanes.

No matter what they do at this intersection 13 will alway's be backed up until flyovers are put in. If this design can work for this interchange for at least 5-7 years, then I have no doubt that it would work for interchanges in NWA. Current traffic counts at this intersection are over 100,000, and trust me I-44 is much more than I-540. I will agree though, I was shocked when they announced that they would not be building a wider overpass to accomadate 6 lanes in both directions.

I think they'd be MUCH better off with a pair of traffic circles on 13 instead of this crossover at a light concept. I hated circles when I first used them but after a while you realize that they really do keep traffic moving along quite nicely!

If by circles you mean the cloverleaf design, those kinds of interchanges are whats causing problems at some of Springfield's busiest interchanges. That is what I-44 and 65 was before it was replaced with flyovers, and the same can be said for 65/60 interchange which is getting flyovers as well. Cloverleafs are for LOW volume interchanges because of the very short merge lanes. ARDOT would be insane to even think about putting cloverleafs in at any interchange in NWA.

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Yeah I think it will take time for people to get used to. I'm not crazy about it, but it's certainly better than nothing. One of the big things to mention is that it will cut down on costs. Something that NWA might need to look into if we're going to get some of our road projects going.

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No matter what they do at this intersection 13 will alway's be backed up until flyovers are put in. If this design can work for this interchange for at least 5-7 years, then I have no doubt that it would work for interchanges in NWA. Current traffic counts at this intersection are over 100,000, and trust me I-44 is much more than I-540. I will agree though, I was shocked when they announced that they would not be building a wider overpass to accomadate 6 lanes in both directions.

If by circles you mean the cloverleaf design, those kinds of interchanges are whats causing problems at some of Springfield's busiest interchanges. That is what I-44 and 65 was before it was replaced with flyovers, and the same can be said for 65/60 interchange which is getting flyovers as well. Cloverleafs are for LOW volume interchanges because of the very short merge lanes. ARDOT would be insane to even think about putting cloverleafs in at any interchange in NWA.

No not cloverleafs....roundabouts or rotaries. I've seen some pretty big ones back east, 2 and 3 lanes, positioned at the exit/entryway to a large volume highway/interstate in precisely this manner handling very large volumes of traffic and they move it along very well with no lights needed whatsoever.

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The Fayetteville city council unanimously voted to join the Regional Mobility Authority. Hopefully this will lead to increased funding for the transportation issues in NWA.

Any tax increases will be voted on by the public but in the case of toll roads the Authority made it harder for a increase to pass. While the public gets to decide whether a road will be tolled or not, after it has passed it is at the discretion of the Authority as to toll increases. This open ended spending issue is what caused the defeat of the last state highway bond issue. While I understand that once a toll road is built there has to be a means to raise funds for repair, etc, there needs to be some type of counter balance in order to control spending. It will be hard to convince voters to have toll roads when there are no limits on what the total cost will be to them.

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The Fayetteville city council unanimously voted to join the Regional Mobility Authority. Hopefully this will lead to increased funding for the transportation issues in NWA.

Any tax increases will be voted on by the public but in the case of toll roads the Authority made it harder for a increase to pass. While the public gets to decide whether a road will be tolled or not, after it has passed it is at the discretion of the Authority as to toll increases. This open ended spending issue is what caused the defeat of the last state highway bond issue. While I understand that once a toll road is built there has to be a means to raise funds for repair, etc, there needs to be some type of counter balance in order to control spending. It will be hard to convince voters to have toll roads when there are no limits on what the total cost will be to them.

I'm not sure why it took the Fayetteville City Council to jump on board, but at least they did. This won't be any type of 'cure-all' for our transportation needs. But I do think this authority will help things along. I heard they'll also be looking more into public transportation as well.

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I'm not sure why it took the Fayetteville City Council to jump on board, but at least they did. This won't be any type of 'cure-all' for our transportation needs. But I do think this authority will help things along. I heard they'll also be looking more into public transportation as well.

No dount it had to do with the rising gas prices and all the doom and gloom in the newsmedia lately. If Fayetteville is to be a leading edge city in the green scene then transportation is a major issue they'll be judged on. The competition is already building momentum to become the greenest city so Fayetteville can't get lazy.

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No dount it had to do with the rising gas prices and all the doom and gloom in the newsmedia lately. If Fayetteville is to be a leading edge city in the green scene then transportation is a major issue they'll be judged on. The competition is already building momentum to become the greenest city so Fayetteville can't get lazy.

I got the impression they had decided to do this before Fayetteville had joined. Either way it's a good idea to look into. A lot of cities are having record levels using their public transportation lately. And honestly I don't know if I see gas dropping down a whole lot in the near future either.

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I got the impression they had decided to do this before Fayetteville had joined. Either way it's a good idea to look into. A lot of cities are having record levels using their public transportation lately. And honestly I don't know if I see gas dropping down a whole lot in the near future either.

I'm pretty sure the Regional Mobility Authority was going forward with or without Fayetteville and if they had taken an isolationist stance it would have damaged the city's image as a "green" city. There's a lot of metro just north of Fayetteville's city limits, afterall. Oil prices have broken several records this year with the biggest price jumps in history. Gas prices are expected to reach $5.00 per gallon on average and even with massive efforts by oil companies and our government prices are not likely to drop even a little, ever.

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I'm pretty sure the Regional Mobility Authority was going forward with or without Fayetteville and if they had taken an isolationist stance it would have damaged the city's image as a "green" city. There's a lot of metro just north of Fayetteville's city limits, afterall. Oil prices have broken several records this year with the biggest price jumps in history. Gas prices are expected to reach $5.00 per gallon on average and even with massive efforts by oil companies and our government prices are not likely to drop even a little, ever.

Yeah, Fayetteville was involved with the RMA by just being in Washington County so it just made sense to join.

Wiht energy prices the way they are it would seem a lot of transportation feasiblity studies are out of date. Some of the public transportation ideas that were too expensive a few years ago may seem like a bargain now. A bus/ light rail system would be used much more in NWA these days than just a couple of years ago.

The energy crisis might even lead to changes in the way cities develop. Zoning laws that encourage density would help make public transportation systems more feasible and save money by reducing the need to widen and extend roads. In will be interesting to see how the RMA addresses these questions.

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Yeah, Fayetteville was involved with the RMA by just being in Washington County so it just made sense to join.

Wiht energy prices the way they are it would seem a lot of transportation feasiblity studies are out of date. Some of the public transportation ideas that were too expensive a few years ago may seem like a bargain now. A bus/ light rail system would be used much more in NWA these days than just a couple of years ago.

The energy crisis might even lead to changes in the way cities develop. Zoning laws that encourage density would help make public transportation systems more feasible and save money by reducing the need to widen and extend roads. In will be interesting to see how the RMA addresses these questions.

As much as I still like the idea of light rail, that aspect I think is still a long while off. But if we can ever get some good regional bus routes going who knows what could happen further in the future. I am curious to see if the current conditions will start making cities and people change. I suppose if you wanted to look at the bright side of things all of this should help cut down sprawl. At least some people are starting to look into living closer to their job and closer in to the 'city/cities'.

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ORT is using more and more of the fullsize busses now adays, and ill be a rider here pretty soon, gas hit 4 dollars in springdale this past weekend and im done!

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ORT is using more and more of the full size buses nowadays, and ill be a rider here pretty soon, gas hit 4 dollars in springdale this past weekend and im done!

Yeah I hate the fact that gas is so expensive. But I do hope it finally gives our public transportation a good push it needs. Aside from busing U of A students around Fayetteville, there hasn't been a lot of success in the past.

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While I love the region and our kids love the schools, Northwest Arkansas is in the stone age when it comes to public transportation and eco-friendly transit options. No one single option will solve the region's transit issues. The region, in an effort to catch-up to the rest of the planet, has the potential to lead the nation in creating the next generation of transit. However, I've seen nothing, not even federal funding, to indicate leadership. With an ex-president and a few candidates from the region, one would think we would get some money from the feds for transit development. If we're not careful and get off the dime now, Fayetteville and the corridor will look like the worst of the cities notorious for bad commutes in ten or 20 years (increasing pollution, traffic-choked streets, and morbid commutes). The Northwest Arkansas community is built entirely around the automobile with it's obsolete transportation planning and development guidelines, suburban sprawl, and "build more lanes and add another exit to the I-540" mentality. We moved here for work from the Northwest (U.S.) where we enjoyed ample choices, incentives, and options in transit, from extensive bike lanes to bus and light rail. Ride-sharing was part of the culture, starting with car pool lanes in the 1970s and light rail in the 1980s. I felt safer riding my bike in the extensive bike lane/trail network, and almost never drove my car (probably 5 times over 5 years) to work, even though it was about 10 miles away from our home (my employer paid for our transit passes). I say, "Build it now and they will come".

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While I love the region and our kids love the schools, Northwest Arkansas is in the stone age when it comes to public transportation and eco-friendly transit options. No one single option will solve the region's transit issues. The region, in an effort to catch-up to the rest of the planet, has the potential to lead the nation in creating the next generation of transit. However, I've seen nothing, not even federal funding, to indicate leadership. With an ex-president and a few candidates from the region, one would think we would get some money from the feds for transit development. If we're not careful and get off the dime now, Fayetteville and the corridor will look like the worst of the cities notorious for bad commutes in ten or 20 years (increasing pollution, traffic-choked streets, and morbid commutes). The Northwest Arkansas community is built entirely around the automobile with it's obsolete transportation planning and development guidelines, suburban sprawl, and "build more lanes and add another exit to the I-540" mentality. We moved here for work from the Northwest (U.S.) where we enjoyed ample choices, incentives, and options in transit, from extensive bike lanes to bus and light rail. Ride-sharing was part of the culture, starting with car pool lanes in the 1970s and light rail in the 1980s. I felt safer riding my bike in the extensive bike lane/trail network, and almost never drove my car (probably 5 times over 5 years) to work, even though it was about 10 miles away from our home (my employer paid for our transit passes). I say, "Build it now and they will come".

Yeah I think the big thing is waiting to see if anyone in the area is going to step up. One of the problems is getting people to change their mindset. It was just last year when people were complaining about bike lanes being added to Crossover. A few residents wondered why the city bothered because in their opinion 'nobody uses them'. Although it's pretty obvious plenty of people do use them. But many people do seem stuck in the idea that transportation should be set up the same as it was in later 20th century. Doing something different than just continuously adding more lanes and wider roads will make this group of people 'howl with discontent' over money being wasting on any other ideas. I almost think it's just the fact of doing something different that bothers some people. A little bit like how some of the neighbors around the future Ruskin Heights development have caused such a ruckus just because someone is putting in a development that's not the typical suburban cookie cutter sprawl.

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Apparently regional planners are looking for suggestions on a western beltway. I've stated a number of times how I'd much rather see I-540 widened before we add another road that will help encourage more sprawl. For a while I never quite got why so many seemed to be pushing it over widening I-540. But it finally dawned on me. They could make it a toll road. Local and state officials aren't into the idea of widening an already existing road and then trying to turn it into a toll road. So I can see why the western beltway idea seems to have a lot more interest from a number of people. I still think it's a shame that it would have to be that way. But if we were to rely on the state to widen I-540 we'd be having to wait a really long time. For that matter you still have to wonder when the Bella Vista bypass or 412 bypass will get done. Let alone an even bigger project like widening I-540.

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Even with a western bypass 540 will still be just as terrible and will continue to get worse and worse, it would be smarter to take the expressway in north fayetteville, extend it over 71, go over 265, then head north towards rogers and hit 540 again just north of bentonville, the eastern bypass would ease so much more traffic for those of us that live and work on the east side of the city, how would that not make sense especially if it hit the 412 bypass? It would create two perfect loops along 540 containing all of Springdale and north Fayetteville, and all of Rogers and Lowell.

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Even with a western bypass 540 will still be just as terrible and will continue to get worse and worse, it would be smarter to take the expressway in north fayetteville, extend it over 71, go over 265, then head north towards rogers and hit 540 again just north of bentonville, the eastern bypass would ease so much more traffic for those of us that live and work on the east side of the city, how would that not make sense especially if it hit the 412 bypass? It would create two perfect loops along 540 containing all of Springdale and north Fayetteville, and all of Rogers and Lowell.

Yeah I'd also prefer an eastern bypass. At least you would create a loop around the core of the metro. Granted if we had to sprawl a particular direction I guess I'd prefer to the west rather than the east. I think it's more scenic to the east. The only problem I could see with trying to make an eastern bypass is that the terrain is hilly and not flat like it is to the west. Which would make it more expensive and drive costs up. I'm not sure if that's one of the reasons you rarely hear anyone bring up the idea of the eastern bypass.

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Apparently regional planners are looking for suggestions on a western beltway. I've stated a number of times how I'd much rather see I-540 widened before we add another road that will help encourage more sprawl. For a while I never quite got why so many seemed to be pushing it over widening I-540. But it finally dawned on me. They could make it a toll road. Local and state officials aren't into the idea of widening an already existing road and then trying to turn it into a toll road. So I can see why the western beltway idea seems to have a lot more interest from a number of people. I still think it's a shame that it would have to be that way. But if we were to rely on the state to widen I-540 we'd be having to wait a really long time. For that matter you still have to wonder when the Bella Vista bypass or 412 bypass will get done. Let alone an even bigger project like widening I-540.

Yes, I agree that improving I540 seems to be a bigger priority than even the 412 bypass or Bella Vista bypass now, and much more so than a western bypass. I guess the section of the 412 bypass that the XNA access road will connect to is a high priority but I540 is the main route through the region so I hope the state, federal government and Regional Mobility Authority work on it first.

By the time the western bypass would be built we may all be riding bicycles anyway. :lol:

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Yes, I agree that improving I540 seems to be a bigger priority than even the 412 bypass or Bella Vista bypass now, and much more so than a western bypass. I guess the section of the 412 bypass that the XNA access road will connect to is a high priority but I540 is the main route through the region so I hope the state, federal government and Regional Mobility Authority work on it first.

By the time the western bypass would be built we may all be riding bicycles anyway. :lol:

Yeah it does seem funny as gas prices keep going up here we're talking about putting in a western bypass over in the western part of Benton and Washington Counties. Unfortunately I don't there's a way people would accept turning I-540 into a toll road to pay for the cost of widening it. Even if a lot of people in the area were willing, state officials don't seem to like that idea either. Just seems to me an eastern bypass would be a lot more fitting overall rather than placing one way out in the western part of the counties.

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Yeah it does seem funny as gas prices keep going up here we're talking about putting in a western bypass over in the western part of Benton and Washington Counties. Unfortunately I don't there's a way people would accept turning I-540 into a toll road to pay for the cost of widening it. Even if a lot of people in the area were willing, state officials don't seem to like that idea either. Just seems to me an eastern bypass would be a lot more fitting overall rather than placing one way out in the western part of the counties.

The odds of 540 becoming a toll road in the future are next to nothing. It's the core interstate through the metro area, and if they ever get around to making it continuous through Bella-Vista (interstates do NOT have stop lights!) it will be an even more significant highway, as it'll be the "official" interstate connecting 44 and 40. At any rate, being the core path through the area means lots and lots of access points. This is where the toll road issue becomes next to impossible. You can't have an effective toll road with that many access points. You either have to have a bunch of toll points, which would really slow down traffic and cost a lot to build and run, or you have a main toll point or two that a huge number of people will simply go around, increasing through-city traffic to avoid toll booths, and leaving us with a worse situation than we started with. This is why, in my opinion, that 540 would be a terrible toll road, and in all likelihood will never be one.

(On a side note, I think an eastern bypass would do a lot more good than a western one as well, and I have no idea how they plan to fix the eastern traffic problems in the future.)

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