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BCR - Highfill: Airport road price set to drop

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The executive director of Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport believes a proposed airport access road will cost less than estimated because its construction schedule now matches that of the Springdale Northern Bypass.

Without the bypass, the access road would connect to Interstate 540, costing about $ 80 million, Scott Van Laningham said. Connecting farther northwest to the bypass would cut the cost to $ 40 million, he said.

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department approved plans for the 20-mile northern bypass in March. Van Laningham feared a lack of money would delay design and construction of the bypass. But the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program includes $ 29 million for the project, said Glenn Bolick, spokesman for the Highway Department.

http://www.nwarktimes.com/adg/News/179871/

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At one time they were planning on making the access road a toll road with no exits between the 412 bypass and XNA. Anyone know if that is still the plan?

If they are counting on the 412 bypass to be built by 2011 they are very optimistic. It would take a change in how the highway money is divided up between state districts or a new source such as that huge surplus the state is sitting on. Maybe with that new comissioner stating that the money should go where the roads are needed the most there will be a change.

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Let's pray for a miracle then, because without one I don't think NWA will ever have adequate infrastructure.

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I hope to god that when they build the new bypass that they make it ATLEAST 6 lanes, if not, then they are idiots, because itll cost millions more to do it later on and by the time they actually have the cash theyll need to make it 8 lanes to handle all of the traffic and they still wont have enough, hopefully some one has learned from our traffic counts on 540. The 412 bypass will be just as bad, if not worse.

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I have my doubts the 412 bypass will be 6 lanes. itk could probably tell us, but I don't know of any new roads that started off as a 6 lane highway. I've always wondered if the airport might influence them to start the western part first so that they'd be able to have the connection for their road.

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I hope to god that when they build the new bypass that they make it ATLEAST 6 lanes, if not, then they are idiots, because itll cost millions more to do it later on and by the time they actually have the cash theyll need to make it 8 lanes to handle all of the traffic and they still wont have enough, hopefully some one has learned from our traffic counts on 540. The 412 bypass will be just as bad, if not worse.

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I'm not holding my breath for a 2011 completion date, either... the state of funding right now, particularly at the federal level, is questionable. There could be *major* funding cuts in the near future. If anyone wants to read it themselves, check it out: http://news.transportation.org/journal.aspx . I'm not being bleak on the state of transportation funding just because! It's a fact.

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It'll most certainly be 4 lanes, but design is not final. It'll cost millions more to build 6 lanes now vs 4 lanes. Adding 2 extra lanes in the future will also cost millions. Feel free to donate the many 10's of millions of extra dollars to add those extra lanes. AHTD and FHWA doesn't have that money.

I haven't seen the numbers recently, but if the numbers warrant it, maybe around interchanges, there may be extra lanes in certain areas. We'll see.

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As far as building the XNA access road, I can't remember if it's going to be tolled or not... brain fart. But I do know that it won't have any interchanges in-between-- just a quick shot between future 412 bypass and XNA entrance.

I'm not holding my breath for a 2011 completion date, either... the state of funding right now, particularly at the federal level, is questionable. There could be *major* funding cuts in the near future. If anyone wants to read it themselves, check it out: http://news.transportation.org/journal.aspx . I'm not being bleak on the state of transportation funding just because! It's a fact.

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That's funny. I thought I remembered reading that the airport board voted to have it to 2 lanes for now and add two lanes later. I honestly thought that would be crazy.

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2 lanes would be ridiculous. There shouldn't even be a need for any 2 lane roads anywhere except for subdivision roads. By 4 lanes I'm assuming there will also be a center lane for making turns.

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I believe they plan on buying rightaway for a divided 4 lane controlled access road from the 412 bypass to XNA. Only 2 lanes will be built at first, the other 2 will be added as traffic counts warrant and the funds become available. Since there won't be interchanges except at either end, it should be a relatively cheap way to build a needed road. I don't know if a decision has been made on whether it will be a toll road or not, although that sounds like a very good way to finance it to me.

From what I've read, the 412 bypass construction will start at I540 and head westward as to accomodate the XNA access road. It will be a 4 lane interstate quality road. I can't imagine them building 6 lanes at this time, although purchasing rightaway and building the structures for future expansion seems like a smart move. Starting construction at 71B and moving westward would also be a good idea. Making it a toll road may be a good financing option for this road also ( may be the only way it will get built).

I think I'll add that anyone who is interested in the further development of NWA should pay close attention to where your tax dollars are going in regard to highway construction. I think congestion on our local roads will be the main limiter on future growth. Using your individual and regional clout to influence how those dollars are divied up should be a priority.

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Uh, I thought this was suppose to be of Interstate quality, not another Walnut street.

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Yeah I heard they want to have the right away for four but just start with building two lanes. That would cut out the curves you have the other way. That and since this road would only go to the airport it would also help cut out some of the traffic you might get stuck behind on the other route.

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Yeah I heard they want to have the right away for four but just start with building two lanes. That would cut out the curves you have the other way. That and since this road would only go to the airport it would also help cut out some of the traffic you might get stuck behind on the other route.

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That's funny. I thought I remembered reading that the airport board voted to have it to 2 lanes for now and add two lanes later. I honestly thought that would be crazy.

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Thanks for the link itk. Some very interesting and even more disturbing information on there. It sounds like money that has already been promised will not be appropriated. Everyone agrees on the need but politics will keep that need from being met.

It's frustrating- what's the point of passing laws by one group when another group actually controls the money to fund those laws? I guess the first group can say they tried, it's the other group's fault that you didn't get your highway.

Not to start a political debate, but what if one year's worth of taxpayer money that is being sent overseas had been spent on infrastructure in this country? A lot of roads could have been built, don't you think?

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Re-read what I was responding to. I was referring to 412 bypass, not the XNA access road. The access road will be 2 lanes.

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Alright. So there isn't going to be any exits except to begin with and end?

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Correct. And it'll be basically a two-lane undivided high-speed highway (sometimes called a "super-two"), just like you would see anywhere but built to interstate quality, with a full interchange with the 412 bypass.

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Just like you'd see anywhere but NWA? Personally, I've never seen anything like that except for toll roads and they're always 4-laners. Maybe I'll get a chance to see one within a decade.

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