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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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Saw this linked on Twitter, overheard/drone view of the Rupple construction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7sS_c7Hy2Y

Probably the best thing to do.  I do like Petty's ideas for College Ave.  But not sure if it was a good idea to try to fund it by taking away from this project.  Especially when a four lane was origin

The easiest way for NWA to move forward with transit would be Bus Rapid Transit. If done right, BRT can have the same comfort and speed as a Light rail system while costing far less to implement. I th

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How long has the three-way intersection at Cleveland & Razorback been a three-way stop? I wish it had been done decades ago but I'm certainly glad it's been done.

It's news to me. Although I also admit I rarely take that route so it could have been that way a while now.

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I read something in the editorial page of the Ark Dem Gaz today. I was a little surprised to see it come from radio broadcaster from central Arkansas. But basically to boil it down. He mentions that some of the NWA cities are looking into possibly taking the AHTD to court over how funds are distributed across the state for road projects. Something I haven't heard before. I'm sure a lot of us in NWA already feel that our road situation isn't being 'taken care of'. The state seems to put a lot of emphasis on rural funding of roads. And with the other major Arkansas metro being the capitol of the state, they seem to find ways to make sure most of their needs are met. I wonder if this is a preliminary move before the 2010 census. As I mentioned before, our urban core is expected to surpass 200,000 and would give us more leverage on our federal funding for transportation. But I guess I was still a little surprised to hear NWA might possibly try to take the AHTD to court.

Although even if NWA does manage to gain more control of transportation issues. I still wonder how things will work out between NWA cities. Fayetteville's goals seem to differ from most of the other NWA cities. I think most of the other NWA cities, particularly in Benton County really like the western beltway idea. Where as Fayetteville seems to really like the light rail idea. I believe a couple of NWA cities have already expressed a lack of interest in the light rail concept. Although it would still be nice if more of the decisions were made in NWA and not in another part of the state.

It looks like this lawsuit will be filed soon with the aim of changing the makeup of the Highway Commission and how highway funds are distributed. The suit will claim that the present situation doesn't treat all areas of the state equal and so is unconstitutional. It seems that of the five commissioners of that independent body four represent some portion of south Arkansas, which is mainly rural. This leaves the more populated areas of Central Arkansas and Northwest Arkansas at a disadvantage. The suit will seek a court ordered solution that will ensure equal representation on the commission and equal (as in need based) distribution of highway funds.

In related news- the Arkansas Blue Ribbon Committee on Highway Finance is still working on ways to increase funding for state roads.

Seems like there is a lot of division on the committee about how to go about raising more money and even about how much money to shoot for. Some members are reccommending a huge tax increase that has no chance of passing while others are saying a smaller more feasible amount should be looked at. There is also the idea of diverting some money from the general revenue such as the taxes on vehicle sales to fund highways which seems reasonable.

One of the members who is also a Highway Commissioner from south Arkansas is recommending a $8,000,000,000 (billion) amount to build a 4 lane grid state wide sytem connecting to the interstate system. That is some outlandish idea. The state has built a interstate grade highway to Pine Bluff and beyond and the city has steadily declined regardless of it. The aim of building transportation projects should not be to create economic development but to solve transporation problems. The idea that if you build a 4 lane highway to some small declining town in south Arkansas that it will suddenly turn it's economy around is wrong. As Governor Beebee said in his campaign when he pledged to appoint highway commissioners that would do so, highway dollars should follow the cars.

Edited by zman9810
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It looks like this lawsuit will be filed soon with the aim of changing the makeup of the Highway Commission and how highway funds are distributed. The suit will claim that the present situation doesn't treat all areas of the state equal and so is unconstitutional. It seems that of the five commissioners of that independent body four represent some portion of south Arkansas, which is mainly rural. This leaves the more populated areas of Central Arkansas and Northwest Arkansas at a disadvantage. The suit will seek a court ordered solution that will ensure equal representation on the commission and equal (as in need based) distribution of highway funds.

In related news- the Arkansas Blue Ribbon Committee on Highway Finance is still working on ways to increase funding for state roads.

Seems like there is a lot of division on the committee about how to go about raising more money and even about how much money to shoot for. Some members are recommending a huge tax increase that has no chance of passing while others are saying a smaller more feasible amount should be looked at. There is also the idea of diverting some money from the general revenue such as the taxes on vehicle sales to fund highways which seems reasonable.

One of the members who is also a Highway Commissioner from south Arkansas is recommending a $8,000,000,000 (billion) amount to build a 4 lane grid state wide system connecting to the interstate system. That is some outlandish idea. The state has built a interstate grade highway to Pine Bluff and beyond and the city has steadily declined regardless of it. The aim of building transportation projects should not be to create economic development but to solve transporation problems. The idea that if you build a 4 lane highway to some small declining town in south Arkansas that it will suddenly turn it's economy around is wrong. As Governor Bebee said in his campaign when he pledged to appoint highway commissioners that would do so, highway dollars should follow the cars.

Thanks for the update. I had no idea about the composition of the Highway Commission. Seems like they would have set up up so that one part of the state can't dominate a commission like that. Especially one part that let's say, doesn't really play as big of a role as other parts of the state.

I've heard about some of these ideas of putting in more roads in the past. But the AHTD already has a huge system of roads to maintain. Let's see Arkansas I believe is in the middle as far as size goes. We're out of the top half as far as population goes. Yet we have the 12th biggest highway system. If we keep this up eventually the AHTD will only have the money to maintain roads and no money to build new ones. Sometimes having a good road system does obviously help economic development. But just throwing around large roads systems doesn't guarantee any development. As you said, roads haven't had any help on Pine Bluff. Now I'd say there's a big difference between southwest and southeast Arkansas. But still let's face facts. There's basically two economic engines of the state, central Ark and NWA. Why not invest in those two areas instead of throwing money into other areas where it might not really have much affect?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Blue Ribbon Committee on Highway Finance seems to be still looking at increasing fuel taxes as a way to generate more revenue. They don't seem to notice that taxing fuel has been a declining source of revenue- raising those taxes would be a temporary fix at best. AS fuel economy of vehicles contnues to rise the owners will buy less fuel and the higher prices will discourage drving - both factors that will ddrive down revenue. Another source of money needs to be looked at usch sales taxes on vehicles.

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There is no doubt that more money needs to be diverted to the more populated areas. Sometimes I'll be driving a brand new back road in the boonies and wonder if there's even 500 cars that pass over it per day. I know NWA people get upset thinking that LR gets too much money for roads, but they are really shortchanged as well as NWA. The vast majority of the busiest inersections in the state are in LR and a lot need work. Anyway, it'd be nothing but a benefit for the state for NWA and LR to see increased funding.

Also -- any updates on Garland?

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There is no doubt that more money needs to be diverted to the more populated areas. Sometimes I'll be driving a brand new back road in the boonies and wonder if there's even 500 cars that pass over it per day. I know NWA people get upset thinking that LR gets too much money for roads, but they are really shortchanged as well as NWA. The vast majority of the busiest inersections in the state are in LR and a lot need work. Anyway, it'd be nothing but a benefit for the state for NWA and LR to see increased funding.

Also -- any updates on Garland?

Actually...I think NWA and Central Arkansas are on the same side in the highway funding debate. It is more a urban areas versus rural areas competition. The highway commissioner advocating a 4 lane highway to every town over 5,000 population is from a small city in sparsely populated south central Arkansas. Many of the counties in that area have less than 10,000 people compared to the over 100,000 in each of the counties in NWA and Central Arkansas. The pending lawsuit is by a coalition from NWA and Central Arkansas and the defendant is dominated by people from rural areas. Like you say- a funding change and increased funding will help the entire state in the long run.

I think they are still studiyng the Mt. Comfort and North St. intersections and whether or not a median is called for in that area.

Edited by zman9810
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There is no doubt that more money needs to be diverted to the more populated areas. Sometimes I'll be driving a brand new back road in the boonies and wonder if there's even 500 cars that pass over it per day. I know NWA people get upset thinking that LR gets too much money for roads, but they are really shortchanged as well as NWA. The vast majority of the busiest intersections in the state are in LR and a lot need work. Anyway, it'd be nothing but a benefit for the state for NWA and LR to see increased funding.

Also -- any updates on Garland?

I do agree both NWA and central Ark are being shortchanged. I do think central Ark is in a better situation overall compared to NWA but there's reasons for that. As a whole yeah most of the busier intersections are in central Ark. but one in Fayetteville and one in Springdale tend to be near the top of the list as well. I know there tends to be a bit of a rivalry at times between NWA and central Ark but really the two need to be working together. The two areas need to make changes so that more emphasis is put on those two areas than the other more rural areas. No offense to people in rural Arkansas but NWA and central Ark are the two areas really driving the economic engine of the state. It seems a waste of money to try to throw money at other areas hoping they can be the next NWA instead of focusing on the two most valuable areas in the state. Maybe the rest of the state is trying to keep the gap somewhat close between the two areas and the rest of the state. Overall I guess it's just going to take time to change the way of thinking of people in the state. Eventually as both metros keep growing they'll eventually be able to wield more power. Just seems a waste to have to wait when so much can be done now to improve those two areas which would also actually improve the state as a whole as well.

As far as Garland goes I haven't heard much news lately. Like zman mentioned, the last I heard a while back was them talking about what to do with the Mt Comfort intersection and the median around that area as well. I know there was some sort of deadline set for October. But I don't know if that deadline actually refers to any actual construction. Considering the time of year I suppose most construction will probably end up being put off till next Spring. But still it would be nice to see some prepping work be started in the meantime.

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The highway commissioner advocating a 4 lane highway to every town over 5,000 population is from a small city in sparsely populated south central Arkansas. Many of the counties in that area have less than 10,000 people compared to the over 100,000 in each of the counties in NWA and Central Arkansas.

Uhhh... did someone really say something this moronic? People should be outraged by this fool and get him out of ARDOT. Let's see... how many towns in Arkansas have a population of 5,000 or more, I'm guessing quite a few. Until ARDOT realizes that you don't disperse money according to what a couple of commisioners want, priority projects won't be getting the funding they deseve. God, if MODOT ever announced anything this stupid everyone in the organization would be fired.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. Once the 2010 census numbers are in, Northwest Arkansas will be getting its own transportation organization. They will be able to get ARDOT to open up their pockets to the projects that really need them in NWA.

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People from small town Arkansas live in their own little world. He's gotta do something for his constituents, though. It doesn't have to make sense.

Meh. Some cities deserved higher capacity roads and got them due to growth- others have had suspiciously nice roads that never seem to be used. I think Northern Arkansas is in need of a better East/West route, and there have been upgrades being made to it recently, but with the growth of NWA, Harrison, Mountain Home, and Jonesboro, I'd like to see a better route that connects them than the current 62/412, which is only 4 lanes around Harrison, Mountain Home, and Jonesboro itself. I've seen some hope in that direction though with the new 412 project they built out of Springdale, the 412 project they just finished in Harrison, and the 412 widening eastward that Mountain Home is now working on. Admittedly, that road out of Springdale always seems pretty empty, but it all bottlenecks up between Springdale to Harrison and Harrison to Mountain Home. I never drive much farther east than that, so not sure how bad it is past Mountain Home.

As far as NWA goes, we need a higher capacity pretty much every direction route right now, but hopefully the new census will start showing the people in power that they need to prioritize a bit more realistically.

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Meh. Some cities deserved higher capacity roads and got them due to growth- others have had suspiciously nice roads that never seem to be used. I think Northern Arkansas is in need of a better East/West route, and there have been upgrades being made to it recently, but with the growth of NWA, Harrison, Mountain Home, and Jonesboro, I'd like to see a better route that connects them than the current 62/412, which is only 4 lanes around Harrison, Mountain Home, and Jonesboro itself. I've seen some hope in that direction though with the new 412 project they built out of Springdale, the 412 project they just finished in Harrison, and the 412 widening eastward that Mountain Home is now working on. Admittedly, that road out of Springdale always seems pretty empty, but it all bottlenecks up between Springdale to Harrison and Harrison to Mountain Home. I never drive much farther east than that, so not sure how bad it is past Mountain Home.

As far as NWA goes, we need a higher capacity pretty much every direction route right now, but hopefully the new census will start showing the people in power that they need to prioritize a bit more realistically.

Yeah unless population growth has really dropped off big time the metro shouldn't have too many problems passing the population level so that the metro can start better controlling more of it's road needs. While I do think the population boom has slowed I think it would be a major shock to everyone if it hasn't already passed the level needed.

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I heard some construction work being down around the Drake/Gregg intersection when I was on the Scull Creek Trail a while back. Then I sorta forgot about it. Today I was driving along there and noticed they're finally putting in a nice railroad crossing to get rid of that old one that was really hard on your car. Nice to finally see that being replaced.

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Found this via google news:

"INTERCHANGES ALONG I-540 SLATED FOR MODIFICATIONS

FAYETTEVILLE — APAC-Arkansas of Fayetteville was recently awarded a $2.3 million contract by the Arkansas State Highway Commission for short-term modifications to interchanges on Interstate 540 in Benton and Washington counties.

Interchanges along I-540 slated for modifications under the project include Arkansas 16/Arkansas 112 (Wedington Drive) in Fayetteville, Porter Road in Fayetteville, Arkansas 112 (Garland Avenue) in Fayetteville, Arkansas 264 (West Monroe Avenue) in Lowell and U.S. 71/Arkansas 72 at Bentonville.

Improvement will include widening entrance and exit ramps and adding auxiliary lanes. Improvement at Porter Road involve installing a traffic signal.

The project is paid for with money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Work could begin on the project in two to four weeks, weather permitting. Work should be completed by late 2010."

http://news.google.com/news/url?fd=R&sa=T&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nwanews.com%2Fnews%2F2009%2Fnov%2F07%2Fchanges-planned-interstate%2F&usg=AFQjCNGnHMhEG_w-9ZVsQrFsV7MX0q4MrA

The traffic light at Porter will be very helpful. Been needed for a long time.

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Found this via google news:

"INTERCHANGES ALONG I-540 SLATED FOR MODIFICATIONS

FAYETTEVILLE — APAC-Arkansas of Fayetteville was recently awarded a $2.3 million contract by the Arkansas State Highway Commission for short-term modifications to interchanges on Interstate 540 in Benton and Washington counties.

Interchanges along I-540 slated for modifications under the project include Arkansas 16/Arkansas 112 (Wedington Drive) in Fayetteville, Porter Road in Fayetteville, Arkansas 112 (Garland Avenue) in Fayetteville, Arkansas 264 (West Monroe Avenue) in Lowell and U.S. 71/Arkansas 72 at Bentonville.

Improvement will include widening entrance and exit ramps and adding auxiliary lanes. Improvement at Porter Road involve installing a traffic signal.

The project is paid for with money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Work could begin on the project in two to four weeks, weather permitting. Work should be completed by late 2010."

http://news.google.com/news/url?fd=R&sa=T&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nwanews.com%2Fnews%2F2009%2Fnov%2F07%2Fchanges-planned-interstate%2F&usg=AFQjCNGnHMhEG_w-9ZVsQrFsV7MX0q4MrA

The traffic light at Porter will be very helpful. Been needed for a long time.

So will the addition of lanes/widening the Wedington exits. That's a busy interchange and during the going home from work hours, it backs up to the "exit in 1/2 mile" sign to the north on the side of 540, which is quite dangerous.

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I thought the Porter Road/Mt. Comfort intersection was already being improved as part of the city project there. Hopefully they are coordinating the work so one complements the other.

The Wedington overpass could really use widening- I always expect someone to come over and sideswipe me when I go over it.

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Found this via google news:

"INTERCHANGES ALONG I-540 SLATED FOR MODIFICATIONS

FAYETTEVILLE — APAC-Arkansas of Fayetteville was recently awarded a $2.3 million contract by the Arkansas State Highway Commission for short-term modifications to interchanges on Interstate 540 in Benton and Washington counties.

Interchanges along I-540 slated for modifications under the project include Arkansas 16/Arkansas 112 (Wedington Drive) in Fayetteville, Porter Road in Fayetteville, Arkansas 112 (Garland Avenue) in Fayetteville, Arkansas 264 (West Monroe Avenue) in Lowell and U.S. 71/Arkansas 72 at Bentonville.

Improvement will include widening entrance and exit ramps and adding auxiliary lanes. Improvement at Porter Road involve installing a traffic signal.

The project is paid for with money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Work could begin on the project in two to four weeks, weather permitting. Work should be completed by late 2010."

http://news.google.com/news/url?fd=R&sa=T&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nwanews.com%2Fnews%2F2009%2Fnov%2F07%2Fchanges-planned-interstate%2F&usg=AFQjCNGnHMhEG_w-9ZVsQrFsV7MX0q4MrA

The traffic light at Porter will be very helpful. Been needed for a long time.

Cool, thanks for the link. I'd really like to see some major overhauls being done to the interchanges. But for now this is certainly better than nothing.

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The Wedington overpass could really use widening- I always expect someone to come over and sideswipe me when I go over it.

Yeah but I wonder when they'll actually take that on. I guess they could just add another overpass and re-stripe the current ones back to just two lanes with some shoulders again. One thing I'd like to also seen done. For there to be enough room left to have a future trail to add to the Fayetteville Trail system. It would probably be about the only way to connect any trails in west Fayetteville to the trail system. Well I guess you could make it have it's own bridge over I-540. But of course that would be pretty expensive.

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It will be so much better to have some SAFE interchanges. The ones we have now are the worst things possible. It would be nice to have something like this but I don't think anyone here would put it in. We atleast need a way for pedestrians to walk across the Weddington interchange... That thing is terrible.

The on/off ramp to the south that runs in the middle is for the carpool lane. Something else we need. When they add a 3rd lane here I hope they are smart enough to make it a carpool lane. I really hope they do.

Edited by Snaple4
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It will be so much better to have some SAFE interchanges. The ones we have now are the worst things possible. It would be nice to have something like this but I don't think anyone here would put it in. We atleast need a way for pedestrians to walk across the Weddington interchange... That thing is terrible.

The on/off ramp to the south that runs in the middle is for the carpool lane. Something else we need. When they add a 3rd lane here I hope they are smart enough to make it a carpool lane. I really hope they do.

Yeah that's what I was saying earlier. When they finally do add on to the Weddington overpass they need to leave some extra room for the trail system. That would make it a lot nicer for pedestrian traffic across the overpass. Including making it possible to connect future trails in west Fayetteville to the rest of the trail system.

As far as the interchange design knowing Arkansas they'll wait till that area is totally built up with development before they decide to put anything like that in. Making it a lot more expensive.

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Oh yeah I forgot to mention that yesterday. Yeah Bentonville is going to be talking about light rail. I'm guessing it's going to be something along the lines of what Fayetteville had a few months ago. Doesn't sounds like anything concrete will be discussed. Overall I think it's just trying to get the idea out there. Get people thinking about it.

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  • 1 month later...

The Blue Ribbon Committee on Highway Finance is still at work on finding more money for state roads. The Revenue Transfer Subcommittee came up with the idea to shift $425 million annually from the general fund to fund highways. This is after budget cuts have already been made and more are being considered. The committee's goal was to find $200 million in additional funds so this $425 miilion idea can't have been a serious attempt to address the situation. $425 million is a huge portion of the entire state budget and the subcommittee members had to have known that the idea wouldn't go anywhere. Who knows why they wasted time even discussing such an outlandish idea. The full committee has until July 1, 2010 to give the Legislature it's plans so this was probably some sort of protest plan since they have been meeting since last May and not came up with any other plans. Hopefully, more serious and workable ideas can be discussed before the deadline.

Edited by zman9810
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The Blue Ribbon Committee on Highway Finance is still at work on finding more money for state roads. The Revenue Transfer Subcommittee came up with the idea to shift $425 million annually from the general fund to fund highways. This is after budget cuts have already been made and more are being considered. The committee's goal was to find $200 million in additional funds so this $425 million idea can't have been a serious attempt to address the situation. $425 million is a huge portion of the entire state budget and the subcommittee members had to have known that the idea wouldn't go anywhere. Who knows why they wasted time even discussing such an outlandish idea. The full committee has until July 1, 2010 to give the Legislature it's plans so this was probably some sort of protest plan since they have been meeting since last May and not came up with any other plans. Hopefully, more serious and workable ideas can be discussed before the deadline.

Yeah that's a pretty silly idea. There's just no way a state like Arkansas can come up with that type of funds taken from general revenue. Earlier in the year the state was still showing a surplus in revenue but that's gone now. But as you said, that amount is just crazy. Had they been better prepared maybe they could have found a way to throw it into the stimulus fund earlier. Like a lot of other states did. I know I've said this before but NWA and central Arkansas really need to work together and throw their clout around. So that so much funding isn't used in rural parts of the state. I'm not saying rural Arkansas needs to be ignored or forgotten. But seriously, NWA and central Arkansas is where all the revenue is being generated. Work on those areas so that you can increase revenue in areas already working for you. Then worry about trying to find ways to 'fix' some of the other areas.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Turns out the whole Garland median/widening issue still isn't over yet. The AHTD still doesn't like Fayetteville wanting to push the median so close to the North/Garland intersection. While I'm certainly a fan of the median I do have to say that pushing it that close to the intersection seems a bit much. Having it extend down to Mt Comfort Rd and then leaving the section between there and the intersection open seems a better idea to me. The AHTD is saying the city is pushing the median so far south it would limit the amount of southbound cars trying to make a left hand turn onto North St. So now seems like the city has finally agreed on ending the median at Mt Comfort Rd. But now they have to resubmit the plans to the state again. Also sounds like they'll be moving that crosswalk near Mt Comfort Rd north to Holly.

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