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mcheiss

Should NW Arkansas build a Western Bypass or Widen I-540?

Should NW Arkansas build a Western Bypass or Widen I-540?   16 members have voted

  1. 1. Should NW Arkansas build a Western Bypass or Widen I-540?

    • I-540 Widening to 6-8 lanes
      13
    • Western Bypass
      3

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27 posts in this topic

Since there was some confusion with the last topic, I've made a new one. :)

I will start.

As much as I would like to see a Western Bypass in NWA, I think priorities should be focused on widening I-540 to 6 to 8 lanes. The western bypass seems like it would only further contribute to sprawl in NWA, especially in NWA. Not to mention the fact that it would cost more and take longer than widening of I-540. The widening of 540 would help control growth by allowing more infill along the Interstate. Not to mention that most people live east of 540.

Anyway, post away, this should be a good topic.

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I didn't realize 540 was only 4 lanes right now. Wow. Seeing how your metro is laid out linear, where would a western bypass go exactly? Would it cross the state line into Oklahoma? Bypasses are great to have, and if I lived there I'd probably vote for one... for starters. But maybe they need to build a bypass AND widen 540 to 6 lanes. We have I-20 which is 6 lanes in most places, 4 lanes only on the fringes of the city, and 8-10 lanes downtown where other roads and freeways tie in. But the bypass we have is 4 lanes and it's extremely congested at rush hour as well. Maybe if you guys get a bypass it should be 6 lanes like 440 in Little Rock. I wish ours were 6 lanes, and you guys have a chance right now to do it right from the start. Take advantage of that... push your leaders to build newer, wider roads.

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I didn't realize 540 was only 4 lanes right now. Wow. Seeing how your metro is laid out linear, where would a western bypass go exactly? Would it cross the state line into Oklahoma?

But maybe they need to build a bypass AND widen 540 to 6 lanes.

The western bypass would run from South Fayetteville through Western Washington County, up to XNA in Western Benton County, then meet up near Bella Vista at I-540. Here's a link to planned transportation projects in NWA in a map format. NWA Transportation

Unfortunately, funding is going to be a bit short and I doubt we'll have enough to widen I-540 and get an entirely new bypass.

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Unfortunately, funding is going to be a bit short and I doubt we'll have enough to widen I-540 and get an entirely new bypass.

Oh okay, I understand.

Sounds like Louisiana!

Build the bypass...

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The western bypass would run from South Fayetteville through Western Washington County, up to XNA in Western Benton County, then meet up near Bella Vista at I-540. Here's a link to planned transportation projects in NWA in a map format. NWA Transportation

Unfortunately, funding is going to be a bit short and I doubt we'll have enough to widen I-540 and get an entirely new bypass.

Yes, I'm glad you didn't put a "both" option in there :D

I'm a little surprised by the voting so far-- I expected more of a 60/40 split (60% for widening 540). I think during the public involvement meetings when the NWA MPO was building their 2030 Long Range Plan, the tendancy for people, especially in Benton County, was to vote for the Western Bypass. Maybe because it was a relatively new idea back then (~1 year ago).

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Yes, I'm glad you didn't put a "both" option in there :D

I'm a little surprised by the voting so far-- I expected more of a 60/40 split (60% for widening 540). I think during the public involvement meetings when the NWA MPO was building their 2030 Long Range Plan, the tendancy for people, especially in Benton County, was to vote for the Western Bypass. Maybe because it was a relatively new idea back then (~1 year ago).

I'm spoiled by big city interstate's with 8 lanes. Widening 540 would be the best option because a western bypass won't alleviate traffic congestion on 540 at all. 4 lanes will always get congested whereas 6 or 8 lanes will always have 4 lanes moving with 2-4 lanes handling all the interchanges.

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Is 540 congested enough to justify 8 lanes, or is that just wishful thinking? (Memphis' 240 is less than 8 lanes 90% of it's length). ;)

I don't think a western bypass would accomplish anything except decentralizing the cities and encouraging sprawl.

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Plus if I-49 is ever going to become a reality, I'm sure truckers aren't going to want to take the I-540 portion at 4 lanes.

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At almost 400,000 with one free way going north and south, 8 lanes is a must, and its only getting worse every day. The only thing that would relieve the traffic would be an eastern parkway as a part of a loop around all the cities.

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Is 540 congested enough to justify 8 lanes, or is that just wishful thinking?

It depends if you're sitting in standstill traffic for an hour because both southbound lanes were taken out by a car wreck. Or that time of day that the outer southbound lane is backed up for a mile at the New Hope exit and thousands of cars are trying to squeeze into the remaining lane. Traffic will get worse as more people move here and more people make business trips here. The thousands of people moving here have children who will be adding more thousands of cars as they become licensed. NWA is still in it's infancy regarding traffic and a 4-lane Interstate just won't cut it in 20 years when traffic has literally doubled.

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Count me in for the western bypass.

I-540 will be bad enough, but I'm still concerned if the Arena, XNA, the new fairgrounds, the Bella Vista toll bypass and the developments planned around Centerton and Highfill (if they happen, which the latter indeed may) all ramp up on the west side in a couple of years...we need a traffic outflow channel of some sort to accommodate that, IMO.

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Is 540 congested enough to justify 8 lanes, or is that just wishful thinking? (Memphis' 240 is less than 8 lanes 90% of it's length). ;)

I don't think a western bypass would accomplish anything except decentralizing the cities and encouraging sprawl.

Bypasses do encourage sprawl, there's no doubt about that. But as bad as traffic is on I-20 and I-49 at rush hour every day and how bad it is on I-220, if there were no I-220 I'd HATE to see the traffic on 20. In other words, people do use I-220 and it takes no time for people to catch onto a new route like that. They also help to keep some large truck traffic off the main freeways, though they don't take it all off because some truckers refuse to use the bypasses.

Bypasses certainly do loop around farther, but one of the benefits is that if they loop beyond city limits, the speed limit can typically be higher. I-49 through Shreveport is 60 mph and I-20 is 60 and 50 mph through the cities. But I-220 is 70 mph in most places, because it skirts the city limits all the way around. So while it may add quite a few miles to a commute, the higher speed limit makes up for part of that. I checked my time on I-220 once during rush hour, compared to interstates 49 and 20, and it only took me a total of 4 minutes longer even though the actual mileage was quite a bit greater. And while the traffic on the bypass is heavy at rush hour, it's nowhere near as heavy as that on I-49 and I-220 and there's no "downtown gridlock" beause you avoid downtown completely.

When a metropolitan area is growing as fast as NWA, sprawl is a given. I don't know how much it's occurring right now, but it's going to occur regardless. That's the nature of the growing metro... seek out newer, cheaper land and build, build, build, no matter how far out you have to build. A bypass will certainly make access to sprawling areas easier, but I guarantee it will also create a dent in the traffic on the main linear freeway.

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SBCmetroguy,

When I worked in SHV in the late 90s, I remember there was a highway that split southwest from Mansfield Rd. in the far south part of the city above Keithville. Mapquest says the highway is route 525 (I think there was a small Johnny's pizza that was located at or near that junction but I may be wrong). As I recall 525 was a narrow enough 2-lane highway. It looks like it joins another such highway at a town called "Spring Ridge".

If those highways are as narrow as I think they are, imagine if at or within a mile or two of that junction:

- There was a 9,000+ seat arena which had 140 events a year including a WNBA and an East Coast Hockey League team;

- There was a national, possibly someday international airport;

- There was the county fairgrounds for a county whose population is going to be 500,000 in a few decades;

- The junction was sandwiched between two new communities of 10,000 - 14,000 apiece;

- There were businesses (i.e. convenience stores, apartments, hotels) serving all the above on the road...

...formed by the junction of two two-lane highways with very narrow shoulders. (At said point one of the roads has a "Stop" sign, the other a "Yield" sign. :blink::wacko: )

THAT'S what Benton County is looking at if it doesn't build a western bypass.

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If those highways are as narrow as I think they are, imagine if at or within a mile or two of that junction:

- There was a 9,000+ seat arena which had 140 events a year including a WNBA and an East Coast Hockey League team;

- There was a national, possibly someday international airport;

- There was the county fairgrounds for a county whose population is going to be 500,000 in a few decades;

- The junction was sandwiched between two new communities of 10,000 - 14,000 apiece;

- There were businesses (i.e. convenience stores, apartments, hotels) serving all the above on the road...

...formed by the junction of two two-lane highways with very narrow shoulders. (At said point one of the roads has a "Stop" sign, the other a "Yield" sign. :blink::wacko: )

THAT'S what Benton County is looking at if it doesn't build a western bypass.

No offense, but S.W. Airport Road has hardly any traffic on it at all. I think the 412 Bypass and the XNA Toll Road will more than graciously alleviate future traffic concerns in Western Benton County. Plus I believe that SW Airport Road is suppose to be widened at some point.

Everyone needs to realize that a Western Bypass is going to take longer than widening of I-540. Not only are you going to have to buy right-of ways, but there's enviromental tests, and then leveling for construction.

Most of the stuff you mention above is just countless sprawl that doesn't need an interstate quality road to handle. ATHD has already realized the problem and has included numerous roads such as S.W. Airport Road, Arkansas 279, Arkansas 112, Arkansas 264 (near XNA), etc.

Plus, if XNA becomes international, it doesn't mean anything. The only thing it would allow is for a possible longer runway and maybe a customs store.

Also, the WNBA isn't for sure yet. :)

We have to think of the needs of the metro right now, not just western benton county.

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No offense, but S.W. Airport Road has hardly any traffic on it at all. I think the 412 Bypass and the XNA Toll Road will more than graciously alleviate future traffic concerns in Western Benton County. Plus I believe that SW Airport Road is suppose to be widened at some point.

Everyone needs to realize that a Western Bypass is going to take longer than widening of I-540. Not only are you going to have to buy right-of ways, but there's enviromental tests, and then leveling for construction.

Most of the stuff you mention above is just countless sprawl that doesn't need an interstate quality road to handle. ATHD has already realized the problem and has included numerous roads such as S.W. Airport Road, Arkansas 279, Arkansas 112, Arkansas 264 (near XNA), etc.

Plus, if XNA becomes international, it doesn't mean anything. The only thing it would allow is for a possible longer runway and maybe a customs store.

Also, the WNBA isn't for sure yet. :)

We have to think of the needs of the metro right now, not just western benton county.

Matt, that depends on what community you're coming from, B'ville in my case.

In the morning and evening Airport Road can get quite a few vehicles on it east and westbound. I take it as an alternate route from east Bentonville to our Centerton store at times. They move in "lines" that indeed are rarely interrupted, but add a few ingredients to that (arena, fairgrounds (very seasonal, but a sure thing) and that strange, accident-waiting-to-happen intersection, and a few more flights and you've got yourself a mess from Bentonville/Bella Vista and much of Rogers for people trying to drive south/southwest.

I'll happily grant you that Cave Springs and communities south won't have to worry as much.

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Matt, that depends on what community you're coming from, B'ville in my case.

In the morning and evening Airport Road can get quite a few vehicles on it east and westbound. I take it as an alternate route from east Bentonville to our Centerton store at times. They move in "lines" that indeed are rarely interrupted, but add a few ingredients to that (arena, fairgrounds (very seasonal, but a sure thing) and that strange, accident-waiting-to-happen intersection, and a few more flights and you've got yourself a mess from Bentonville/Bella Vista and much of Rogers for people trying to drive south/southwest.

It's nothing like 6th Street in Fayetteville or Walnut St. in Rogers. I'm sure it has some traffic, but I don't think it's that bad. The XNA bypass and road widenings will fix the problems that you have mentioned and help alleviate traffic due to the growth. $400 Million doesn't need to be spent so west bentonville can have it's own bypass, at least not yet. :D I feel that the majority of growth in the next 10 years will occur along the I-540 corridor. Traffic has increased on 540 every year that I've lived here, and half of the land along I-540 isn't even developed. I say, get I-540 widened with improvements to aertial roads, then worry about a Western Bypass.

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It's nothing like 6th Street in Fayetteville or Walnut St. in Rogers. I'm sure it has some traffic, but I don't think it's that bad. The XNA bypass and road widenings will fix the problems that you have mentioned and help alleviate traffic due to the growth. $400 Million doesn't need to be spent so west bentonville can have it's own bypass, at least not yet. :D I feel that the majority of growth in the next 10 years will occur along the I-540 corridor. Traffic has increased on 540 every year that I've lived here, and half of the land along I-540 isn't even developed. I say, get I-540 widened with improvements to aertial roads, then worry about a Western Bypass.

This isn't just "West Bentonville"...traffic from (most of) Rogers as well as Bentonville, Centerton and Bella Vista funnels down this junction if they're going to XNA (or ostensibly the other upcoming attractions there).

I just went over to drop off some boxes to the Benton County recycling center just south of Centerton (beats driving all the way up to the AARP one in Bella Vista, though they've got a HECKUVA facility up there). From there it's only a hop, skip and jump to the Airport road right near the sizeable Wal-Mart Distribution Center. I did an unscientific traffic count at 4:26pm...12 vehicles passed by in that minute, equivalent to one car in each direction every 10 seconds...certainly not Walton, Walnut, Emma or Dickson Street traffic (yet). I also forgot about the distribution center...most of their truck traffic's probably at night and the early morning but there are quite a few semi-trailers they send out constantly and they're THICK heading west bound in the morning.

If I was going to go for what's going to help this area grow even more I guess I'd go for I-540...I don't think the future Winnipeg to New Orleans (or Mexico) I-49 traffic will use the west bypass as much as it goes through the 51st State. ;)

However, there are so many subdivisions and apartment complexes popping up between Vaughn and Walton Blvd. on Airport Road (as well as Centerton/West Bentonville along 102, many of whom are cutting over to Airport Rd. to avoid 102 traffic which is bad as it is). And those fairgrounds and buildings on same going up right now are going to be BIG (59 acres worth), and if you drive on, say, Arkansas 112 through Tontitown at the time of the Grape Festival you know how that event clogs up that nice four lane road. Throw in those other elements of the arena, etc....

I hope you're right on not having to be concerned about Airport Road, Matt.

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Bypasses do encourage sprawl, there's no doubt about that. But as bad as traffic is on I-20 and I-49 at rush hour every day and how bad it is on I-220, if there were no I-220 I'd HATE to see the traffic on 20. In other words, people do use I-220 and it takes no time for people to catch onto a new route like that. They also help to keep some large truck traffic off the main freeways, though they don't take it all off because some truckers refuse to use the bypasses.

Bypasses certainly do loop around farther, but one of the benefits is that if they loop beyond city limits, the speed limit can typically be higher. I-49 through Shreveport is 60 mph and I-20 is 60 and 50 mph through the cities. But I-220 is 70 mph in most places, because it skirts the city limits all the way around. So while it may add quite a few miles to a commute, the higher speed limit makes up for part of that. I checked my time on I-220 once during rush hour, compared to interstates 49 and 20, and it only took me a total of 4 minutes longer even though the actual mileage was quite a bit greater. And while the traffic on the bypass is heavy at rush hour, it's nowhere near as heavy as that on I-49 and I-220 and there's no "downtown gridlock" beause you avoid downtown completely.

Generally you are correct. The difference between I-540 and I-20 in Shreveport, however, is that I-540 has a higher rural design speed (except for the Fayetteville portion, which is a little lower) than I-20, which is an urban freeway. (I agree with you on bypasses generally encourage sprawl in a growing metro area).

This isn't just "West Bentonville"...traffic from (most of) Rogers as well as Bentonville, Centerton and Bella Vista funnels down this junction if they're going to XNA (or ostensibly the other upcoming attractions there).

However, there are so many subdivisions and apartment complexes popping up between Vaughn and Walton Blvd. on Airport Road (as well as Centerton/West Bentonville along 102, many of whom are cutting over to Airport Rd. to avoid 102 traffic which is bad as it is). And those fairgrounds and buildings on same going up right now are going to be BIG (59 acres worth), and if you drive on, say, Arkansas 112 through Tontitown at the time of the Grape Festival you know how that event clogs up that nice four lane road. Throw in those other elements of the arena, etc....

I hope you're right on not having to be concerned about Airport Road, Matt.

I think your concern for Hwy 12/Airport Rd is well taken, and there are many that would probably share your opinion. But keep in mind what highway projects that have just completed, under construction, or soon to be undertaken in Bentonville:

-Hwy 71B/Walton Blvd widening with improvements to the I-540/Hwy 71B interchange recently completed

-Hwy 112/SE J St widening- under construction

-Hwy 102 widening from Hwy 71B to Centerton- construction soon

-Bella Vista Bypass- construction soon

-8th St widening with I-540 interchange- federal funds secured and study/preliminary engineering will probably be underway in the near future

-Interchange improvements to Hwy 102/62 & I-540- preliminary engineering and study will be underway in the near future

-...I'm certainly forgeting other projects, plus I'm not including those projects or concepts beyond the near future (>~5years). This is a pretty impressive list for Bentonville alone.

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SBCmetroguy,

When I worked in SHV in the late 90s, I remember there was a highway that split southwest from Mansfield Rd. in the far south part of the city above Keithville. Mapquest says the highway is route 525 (I think there was a small Johnny's pizza that was located at or near that junction but I may be wrong). As I recall 525 was a narrow enough 2-lane highway. It looks like it joins another such highway at a town called "Spring Ridge".

If those highways are as narrow as I think they are, imagine if at or within a mile or two of that junction:

- There was a 9,000+ seat arena which had 140 events a year including a WNBA and an East Coast Hockey League team;

- There was a national, possibly someday international airport;

- There was the county fairgrounds for a county whose population is going to be 500,000 in a few decades;

- The junction was sandwiched between two new communities of 10,000 - 14,000 apiece;

- There were businesses (i.e. convenience stores, apartments, hotels) serving all the above on the road...

...formed by the junction of two two-lane highways with very narrow shoulders. (At said point one of the roads has a "Stop" sign, the other a "Yield" sign. :blink::wacko: )

THAT'S what Benton County is looking at if it doesn't build a western bypass.

The road in Shreveport you're talking about is Colquitt Road, which connects Mansfield Road in Southern Hills to Spring Ridge. And yes, there's a Johnny's at the intersection, which in the 80s was a Mazzio's Pizza. That road is 5 lanes now, but I do understand the point you're making. :)

I agree with the idea of a bypass, and it looks like you do as well. But I will also say that all I can do is tell my own experiences with bypasses, because I certainly don't live in your area. I don't know traffic patterns, traffic counts, etc for your area. So like I said all I can do is go off my own experience with bypasses which have been mostly good. On the same note, the bypass here hasn't encouraged a lot of sprawl. No doubt it's helped with some, but not a lot. Most of the sprawl in this area is more related to I-20 and I-49, which are linear interstates and not loop bypasses at all. In addition, quite a bit of sprawl has been along other thoroughfares, such as Airline Drive, Youree Drive, Barksdale Blvd, West 70th Street, etc.

One more note: this is an excellent urban discussion and I'm really enjoying watching the debate. You guys have a lot of growth issues to overcome right now, and lots of great ideas are being kicked around.

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The road in Shreveport you're talking about is Colquitt Road, which connects Mansfield Road in Southern Hills to Spring Ridge. And yes, there's a Johnny's at the intersection, which in the 80s was a Mazzio's Pizza. That road is 5 lanes now, but I do understand the point you're making. :)

I agree with the idea of a bypass, and it looks like you do as well. But I will also say that all I can do is tell my own experiences with bypasses, because I certainly don't live in your area. I don't know traffic patterns, traffic counts, etc for your area. So like I said all I can do is go off my own experience with bypasses which have been mostly good. On the same note, the bypass here hasn't encouraged a lot of sprawl. No doubt it's helped with some, but not a lot. Most of the sprawl in this area is more related to I-20 and I-49, which are linear interstates and not loop bypasses at all. In addition, quite a bit of sprawl has been along other thoroughfares, such as Airline Drive, Youree Drive, Barksdale Blvd, West 70th Street, etc.

One more note: this is an excellent urban discussion and I'm really enjoying watching the debate. You guys have a lot of growth issues to overcome right now, and lots of great ideas are being kicked around.

COLQUITT! I knew that road had a name (we were living in the Atlanta suburbs at the time but I was working in SHV, and Georgia has both a county and a city (I believe) named "Colquitt"), so that's why I remembered it at the time.

One thing SHV has in a quantity that our NWA metro never will...trains, trains, trains! (And I'm a railroad buff so that's what I most long for in NWA.) MAN, when I was there in the late 90s the Union Pacific, Cotton Belt/St. Louis SouthWestern and the Kansas City Southern mainlines just criss-crossed that city. In fact, the UP was absorbing the SLSW (and its parent company Southern Pacific) and due to resulting incredible shipping bottlenecks in Houston there were trains everywhere in the Ark-La-Tex, most of them parked and waiting for a green light on the Arkansas-to-SHV-to-Houston "Rabbit" line. It's amazing Shreveport's automobile traffic wasn't more affected than it was.

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COLQUITT! I knew that road had a name (we were living in the Atlanta suburbs at the time but I was working in SHV, and Georgia has both a county and a city (I believe) named "Colquitt"), so that's why I remembered it at the time.

One thing SHV has in a quantity that our NWA metro never will...trains, trains, trains! (And I'm a railroad buff so that's what I most long for in NWA.) MAN, when I was there in the late 90s the Union Pacific, Cotton Belt/St. Louis SouthWestern and the Kansas City Southern mainlines just criss-crossed that city. In fact, the UP was absorbing the SLSW (and its parent company Southern Pacific) and due to resulting incredible shipping bottlenecks in Houston there were trains everywhere in the Ark-La-Tex, most of them parked and waiting for a green light on the Arkansas-to-SHV-to-Houston "Rabbit" line. It's amazing Shreveport's automobile traffic wasn't more affected than it was.

I'm going to try not to go off on a total Shreveport tangent here, since this topic is related to specific transportation issues in Northwest Arkansas, but let me respond to this.

Trains are huge here, and even I-49 has tracks running parallel to it through most of Shreveport... basically from I-20 to 3132. It's always cool to be driving to work some mornings and seeing all the mile-long trains carrying hundreds military vehicles. That's impressive. Trains are impressive as well!

Anyway Shreveport doesn't have many problems with trains tying up automobile traffic, because Shreveport has an excellent system of freeways and loops. The areas where trains do cross major thoroughfares, the trains typically speed right through and are gone in no time.

Bossier City, however, has a huge problem with trains affecting automobile traffic and they're working right now to change that. Most of Bossier's major thoroughfares have railroad crossings that tie up traffic frequently. Airline Drive, Benton Road, East Texas Street, Old Minden Road, etc. One area that's in the process of being corrected is the crossing at Benton Road near City Hall. They're in the process of building a mile-long overpass that will start at Benton Road/E. Texas Street and continue all the way to just north of the I-20/Benton Road interchange. This will allow traffic, not specifically en route to businesses along that stretch of Benton road, to bypass that stretch of road completely and not be affected by trains.

Airline Drive is another area that needs to be corrected, but I just don't see how they could do that. You can't build an overpass because the I-20 interchange is in your way. Since Airline Drive is the busiest road in Bossier, it's no surprise that if a train goes through there at rush hour, it can take 15 minutes just to get through the stretch by the mall. A couple years back, my wife and her friend were out Christmas shopping. The traffic was bad and then they got caught by a train. It took them an hour and a half to get from I-20 to the mall parking lot, which is about 1/4 mile away.

All this aside, trains are great. I'm surprised with all the businesses in your area that there aren't more trains running there!

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I'm going to try not to go off on a total Shreveport tangent here, since this topic is related to specific transportation issues in Northwest Arkansas, but let me respond to this.

...Airline Drive is another area that needs to be corrected, but I just don't see how they could do that. You can't build an overpass because the I-20 interchange is in your way. Since Airline Drive is the busiest road in Bossier, it's no surprise that if a train goes through there at rush hour, it can take 15 minutes just to get through the stretch by the mall. A couple years back, my wife and her friend were out Christmas shopping. The traffic was bad and then they got caught by a train. It took them an hour and a half to get from I-20 to the mall parking lot, which is about 1/4 mile away.

All this aside, trains are great. I'm surprised with all the businesses in your area that there aren't more trains running there!

Yep...lots of folks can get cut off along Barksdale Blvd. as well, I recall.

SBC, I don't know what it was before that, but the old Saint Louis San Francisco Railway company had a track running from Monett, MO (SW of Springfield) all the way to Paris, TX and then into Dallas. The Arkansas and Missouri railroad (which I just discovered has a snazzy billboard on their overpass in south Springdale) now owns the Monett to Fort Smith portion, with the downtown Fort Smith to Poteau, OK branch now owned by the Kansas City Southern. From Poteau to around Hugo, OK, I believe, the tracks are abandoned and long ago removed, I believe. If the route existed today it might be the shortest from St. Louis to Dallas, but I guess other routes were better able to withstand time.

Indeed, bringing this back to NWA, the Arkansas and Missouri (A & M) has seen increased trainloads. I don't know how profitable it is but they're running some long manifest and grain trains through there. Some speculate whether the KCS might someday build a branch to the XNA airport up here, but I won't hold my breath on that. Still, for a metro area which could be 1 million some day I do wonder what rail opportunities (freight, not passenger) NWA might hold...

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Indeed, bringing this back to NWA, the Arkansas and Missouri (A & M) has seen increased trainloads. I don't know how profitable it is but they're running some long manifest and grain trains through there. Some speculate whether the KCS might someday build a branch to the XNA airport up here, but I won't hold my breath on that. Still, for a metro area which could be 1 million some day I do wonder what rail opportunities (freight, not passenger) NWA might hold...

If we ever want to get a super-project at XNA, a rail connection has to be there.

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