Trying not to get political here but there are considerations that might be pushing Arkansas to move faster. The TIGER grant they got for 10 million said the project must be completed or going by certain date. Maybe they are pushing to get under that timeline. I know Missouri gave them 5 million of the TIGER grant to help.
True. If they are "on a clock", then as I suggested earlier, Hiwasse may be the easiest section to start on (fewer hassles with ROW acquisition, relatively flat terrain, few major roads to hassle with), thus faster to finish.
I wonder if the "bypass" will be part of AR 279 (albeit temporarily)? *UPDATE*
The Bella Vista Bypass WILL be a Super 2... or at least the first project will. The limits of the project will likely be from AR 72 to AR 72 (per AHTD's e-mail). The second project may
be grading & structures to the MO Line, but has yet to be determined.
I don't see how it can be Hwy 72 to Hwy 72 unless it's an E-W alignment. It would be somewhat ironic though, to have "new" 71 built on top of "old" 71 (1920's-30's alignment)