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Author Topic: I-49 in Arkansas  (Read 715161 times)

Grzrd

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #450 on: September 02, 2013, 06:07:30 PM »

This article  .... MoDOT also makes it clear that they are waiting on Arkansas before they build Missouri's section of the Bella Vista Bypass:
Quote
“We do not want to build a four-lane freeway that dead-ends at the state line,” said Sean Matlock, MoDOT’s manager for the I-49 project.
(above quote from I-49 Coming to Missouri thread)
This article reports that MoDOT is currently approximately $25 million short of having its section of the Bella Vista Bypass fully funded:
Quote
Dan Salisbury, the assistant director of the southwest district of the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDoT) ... said ... funding to complete the state's I-49 corridor in a section known as the Bella Vista Bypass was not currently in place .... "we no longer have enough money to complete that. So at this time, we can't commit to a schedule in Missouri to do that."
The shortfall in funding amounts to about $25 million.
(above quote from I-49 Coming to Missouri thread)

This August 30 article (behind paywall) reports that Missouri's lack of a schedule for the Bella Vista Bypass has resulted in AHTD delaying the letting for the County Road 34 to Missouri state line section of the Arkansas BVB:

Quote
Randy Ort, public information officer for the Arkansas Highway Department, said ....
the original timeline for Arkansas and Missouri to complete the project was 2017. He said officials with the Arkansas Highway Department first learned that Missouri was unable to complete its section in that time frame in recent weeks.
A new schedule for completion of the bypass has been developed, Ort said.
The portion of the bypass from Benton County Road 34 to the Missouri state line was to be bid in January, Ort said. But now, a document from the department listing dates of future projects does not list a time frame for that project.
“We have the money, but it does not make sense to continue that portion,” Ort said. “Do we want to continue a road if it is not usable?”
The stretch of road will be completed when Missouri is ready
, Ort said.
He said the section of the bypass from U.S. 71 in Bentonville to Arkansas 72 west of Hiwasse will have a bid released in January. The department will delay construction of a full interchange at that location so the road can open sooner, Ort said.
A stretch of the bypass from Arkansas 72 west of Hiwasse to Benton County Road 34 is already underway, Ort said. An estimated completion date for that portion was not provided.

Nothing like communication between neighboring state DOTs that are theoretically coordinating a state-line project; in the past year, AHTD and MoDOT have literally switched positions in regard to one waiting on the other at the state line.



This article reports that ... there is a "realistic possibility" that the entire four lanes of the BVB might be completed within the current time frame for two lane construction, even in the absence of tolling:
Quote
AHTD Public Information Officer Randy Ort said ... "we think there is a possibility, and a realistic possibility, whether it's a toll road or not a toll road that we will be able to complete this as a four lane facility in the time frame that we committed to only committed to build the two lanes."

The article reporting on the delay for the section from County Road 34 to the Missouri state line also discusses the possibility that Arkansas will go ahead and build a four-lane highway, and that Missouri wants the Arkansas section to be four lanes:

Quote
The Arkansas Highway Department is building the Bella Vista bypass as a two lane road but has plans to expand it later to four lanes, said Ort.
He said officials believe it will cost another $50 million to expand the road to four lanes. He said there is a possibility that the road will be expanded to four lanes sooner than previously thought. He said that is very preliminary, and no official information is available regarding it.
Dan Salisbury, Missouri assistant district engineer for the southwest district said ... Missouri Department of Transportation plans to complete the road as four lanes when funding becomes available. He added that officials also want the Arkansas section to be four lanes.
“That is because we save very little by doing two lanes,” Salisbury said.
It will cost Missouri $40 million to complete its portion of the bypass, Salisbury said. He said at this time “roughly” $15 million is available for the project.

Well, Missouri needs another $25 million and Arkansas needs another $50 million to finish a four-lane BVB.  Maybe MoDOT is putting behind-the-scenes heat on AHTD to identify a source for the $50 million and go ahead and build the four lanes; it at least appears that AHTD is actively exploring that possibility.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 07:42:29 PM by Grzrd »
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M86

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #451 on: September 03, 2013, 02:09:17 AM »

Is it certain that the Bella Vista Bypass will not be tolled?  I tried to weed through the past replies on this thread.
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Grzrd

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #452 on: September 03, 2013, 08:18:33 AM »

Is it certain that the Bella Vista Bypass will not be tolled?

This August 29 post discusses a newspaper article which reports AHTD is currently conducting a feasibility study of tolls on the Bella Vista Bypass:

This article reports that AHTD is investigating the possibility of tolling not only the Bella Vista Bypass, but also "other sections of the interstate":
Quote
One way to possibly pay for the Arkansas portion of not only the Bella Vista Bypass, but other sections of the interstate, would be the creation of Arkansas' first ever toll road, which Ort said was being studied for feasibility



I tried to weed through the past replies on this thread.

Next time, try using the "Search" function on the upper right hand corner of the page while you are in the thread. For example, the following search would have led you to the post I mentioned above:

toll bella vista bypass

[do not put the search phrase in parentheses because "toll" will not necessarily be next to "Bella Vista Bypass"]
Also, compare that search to what happens if you start your search on the "AARoads Forum Index" page. I think in that case the search will give you the most recent post in every thread that contains the search terms, and would not have listed the post I provided above (I presume you would have to next go to the individual threads for more exhaustive searches).
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Grzrd

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #453 on: September 10, 2013, 08:56:14 AM »

Any updates on the Arkansas River bridge and the connection to I-40/current I-540?

This article reports on a consultant making a presentation to the Fort Smith Board of Directors and quotes one of the Directors as saying that the connection to I-40 will be "first" (apparently after the Chaffee Crossing, BVB, and LA state line sections):

Quote
Members of the Fort Smith Board of Directors met for nearly three hours on Monday night (Sept. 9) to discuss and try to narrow the focus of priorities identified during a strategic planning retreat on July 19 and 20 at Mt. Magazine State Park ....
Director Mike Lorenz .... said annexation of land surrounding what will become Interstate 49 would be essential as the city looks not only five or 10 years down the road, but decades or even 100 years into the future.
"That's something Ron said at the end looking 50 or 200 years in the future. While we're talking 20 plus years to get I-49 finished, it won't be that long before it's connected to Interstate 40 … That's going to happen first. That's going to happen before down south happens. But that gives you connection from that intersection to Joplin, basically, and I think that defines the entire area right there. And I think that has to be a major priority."
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #454 on: September 10, 2013, 02:33:03 PM »

Grzrd, I'm still shaking my head (though I can still admire a genuine optimist) about the I-49 proponent from Shreveport who said that he's working to find ways to make this happen in 10, and maybe FIVE years.

That being said, I agree...with the BV bypass scheduled for completion in 2016, any spot along I-49 south of Joplin is immediately opened up to the entire northern U.S. and Canada by our existing interstate system.  With the man in the Arkansas Business article predicting that Fort Smith will be "unrecognizeable"* in five years (and he has to mean that part of it where I-49 goes) there certainly are people who think at least part of this FSM to Texarkana route is going to happen sooner rather than later.  (BTW, today it was announced that Thermold Industries, a firearms manufacturer, is moving their HQ from North Carolina to Fort Smith.  I think, though, they'll be in "old" Fort Smith along Wheeler Avenue, on the southwest side of town near the Oklahoma border.  At least, for now.  ;-)

*My hometown of Springfield Missouri hasn't changed much in parts of the north side.  On the SOUTH side, where the James River Freeway was built connecting Interstate 44 with U.S. 65 to Branson and U.S. 60 to West Plains, Jonesboro and Memphis, it looks like a different city.  That's what will happen in east Fort Smith.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #455 on: September 10, 2013, 02:48:32 PM »

Any updates on the Arkansas River bridge and the connection to I-40/current I-540?

This article reports on a consultant making a presentation to the Fort Smith Board of Directors and quotes one of the Directors as saying that the connection to I-40 will be "first" (apparently after the Chaffee Crossing, BVB, and LA state line sections):

Quote
Members of the Fort Smith Board of Directors met for nearly three hours on Monday night (Sept. 9) to discuss and try to narrow the focus of priorities identified during a strategic planning retreat on July 19 and 20 at Mt. Magazine State Park ....
Director Mike Lorenz .... said annexation of land surrounding what will become Interstate 49 would be essential as the city looks not only five or 10 years down the road, but decades or even 100 years into the future.
"That's something Ron said at the end looking 50 or 200 years in the future. While we're talking 20 plus years to get I-49 finished, it won't be that long before it's connected to Interstate 40 … That's going to happen first. That's going to happen before down south happens. But that gives you connection from that intersection to Joplin, basically, and I think that defines the entire area right there. And I think that has to be a major priority."

Wrong.
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Grzrd

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #456 on: September 11, 2013, 03:40:09 PM »

Is it certain that the Bella Vista Bypass will not be tolled?

AHTD has posted its presentation for the September 11 Arkansas Highway Commission Meeting. Pages 19-32/39 of the pdf pertain to the Bella Vista Bypass.  One item that caught my eye is AHTD apparently believing that tolling the Bella Vista Bypass would preclude an interstate designation (page 31/39 of pdf):



I thought MAP-21 allows new interstate sections to be tolled:

Quote
Other changes include the mainstreaming of tolling new Interstates and added lanes on existing Interstates, which was previously allowed only under the Interstate System Construction Toll Pilot Program and the Express Lanes Demonstration Program

At any rate, on page 32/39, making a decision on “Free” Road vs. Tolling is listed as one of the "Next Steps".  I am curious as to what constitutes the "free" road option, i.e. where would they find the $50 million needed to complete a four-lane facility?
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 03:53:55 PM by Grzrd »
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US71

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #457 on: September 11, 2013, 07:39:44 PM »

Is it certain that the Bella Vista Bypass will not be tolled? 

Based upon what I have read, it will not. Part of the reason being that ARRA money is being used to build part of the highway.  If I-49 was tolled, I believe they would have to refund any monies received by the government.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #458 on: September 11, 2013, 09:59:19 PM »

This is another reason I think our AHTD is out of control. The people of Arkansas passed the 1/2 cent sales tax for 4 lane roads to be built. It did not have what roads to do, so if they use 100 million on the Bypass for 2 lanes and then toll the road then they better think that will be the last tax hike they will get from the citizens of Arkansas. I think they need to build all 4 lanes of the Bella Vista Bypass and cut back somewhere else.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #459 on: September 12, 2013, 05:59:54 PM »

There are 2 good articles in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette today about highway funding and the sale of bonds for the 1/2 cent sales tax and the Interstate rehabilitation project. One good thing is about making the Bella Vista Bypass a toll road. The study said it would take 40 yrs. to pay off. Here is a remark by mr. Trammel who also said they were committed to doing the next 2 jobs but will put on hold the last segment until Missouri is ready to meet them. The money coming in for the 1/2 cent sales tax is lower than expected so they will have to scale back some of the projects. The state’s top highway official said Wednesday that it doesn’t “make a lick of sense” to use tolls to finance widening of the proposed Bella Vista Bypass to four lanes.

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US71

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #460 on: September 12, 2013, 09:55:15 PM »

http://arkansasnews.com/sections/news/highway-commission-postpones-part-bella-vista-bypass-project.html

Highway Commission postpones part of Bella Vista Bypass project

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Highway Commission endorsed a proposal Wednesday to postpone construction of a section of the Bella Vista Bypass in Northwest Arkansas at the Missouri border until that state can find funding for its six-mile portion of the project.

The commission also selected a firm to handle the sale of the first round of bonds — $469 million — that will fund construction of a system of a four-lane highways connecting all parts of the state. Voters last November approved a 10-year half-cent state sales tax increase to pay for the $1.8 billion project.

---
So Arkansas is waiting on Missouri who is waiting on Arkansas.
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Road Hog

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #461 on: September 13, 2013, 01:02:42 AM »

Not a Mexican standoff, but a hillbilly standoff.  :sombrero:
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M86

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #462 on: September 14, 2013, 12:22:45 AM »

http://arkansasnews.com/sections/news/highway-commission-postpones-part-bella-vista-bypass-project.html

Highway Commission postpones part of Bella Vista Bypass project

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Highway Commission endorsed a proposal Wednesday to postpone construction of a section of the Bella Vista Bypass in Northwest Arkansas at the Missouri border until that state can find funding for its six-mile portion of the project.

The commission also selected a firm to handle the sale of the first round of bonds — $469 million — that will fund construction of a system of a four-lane highways connecting all parts of the state. Voters last November approved a 10-year half-cent state sales tax increase to pay for the $1.8 billion project.

---
So Arkansas is waiting on Missouri who is waiting on Arkansas.

I hate this state.
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US71

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #463 on: September 14, 2013, 08:37:01 AM »

http://arkansasnews.com/sections/news/highway-commission-postpones-part-bella-vista-bypass-project.html

Highway Commission postpones part of Bella Vista Bypass project

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Highway Commission endorsed a proposal Wednesday to postpone construction of a section of the Bella Vista Bypass in Northwest Arkansas at the Missouri border until that state can find funding for its six-mile portion of the project.

The commission also selected a firm to handle the sale of the first round of bonds — $469 million — that will fund construction of a system of a four-lane highways connecting all parts of the state. Voters last November approved a 10-year half-cent state sales tax increase to pay for the $1.8 billion project.

---
So Arkansas is waiting on Missouri who is waiting on Arkansas.

I hate this state.

Better than Texas or Mississippi :/
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M86

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #464 on: September 15, 2013, 04:22:48 AM »

http://arkansasnews.com/sections/news/highway-commission-postpones-part-bella-vista-bypass-project.html

Highway Commission postpones part of Bella Vista Bypass project

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Highway Commission endorsed a proposal Wednesday to postpone construction of a section of the Bella Vista Bypass in Northwest Arkansas at the Missouri border until that state can find funding for its six-mile portion of the project.

The commission also selected a firm to handle the sale of the first round of bonds — $469 million — that will fund construction of a system of a four-lane highways connecting all parts of the state. Voters last November approved a 10-year half-cent state sales tax increase to pay for the $1.8 billion project.

---
So Arkansas is waiting on Missouri who is waiting on Arkansas.

I hate this state.

Better than Texas or Mississippi :/

When it comes to roads, Texas and Mississippi are miles ahead of Arkansas.  Take the roads out of the equation?  Ehhh, it's the south.  Enough said.  :)  Kidding, of course.
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Grzrd

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #465 on: September 26, 2013, 02:07:19 PM »

Any updates on the Arkansas River bridge and the connection to I-40/current I-540?

This article, primarily an update about the (non-Future I-49) I-540 construction work in Fort Smith, notes that the I-540 Arkansas River bridge is not being upgraded, primarily because funding for the Future I-49 Arkansas River bridge is a higher priority:

Quote
It has been a little less than nine months since Interstate 540 through Fort Smith and Van Buren was reduced to one lane in both directions, causing traffic nightmares not normally seen in the area.
For commuters looking for a status update on the construction project, Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department District 4 Engineer Chad Adams has good news.
"We're still looking at them being on schedule," he said. "We still have an estimated completion of late spring 2014."
The nearly $79 million project, the largest single-project contract awarded in AHTD history, has seen the demolition of six bridges, with more to come as the months go on ....
While many bridges along the interstate are being replaced, or in some cases raised to allow for higher clearances, one bridge that will not have much if any work done to it is the Arkansas River Bridge.
According to Adams, widening the bridge to conform with current federal highway standards, which is what the contractors are doing with many of the bridges along I-540, is not financially feasible, especially considering that the AHTD is attempting to secure funding for a river bridge along the I-49 route.
He said rehab work on the Arkansas River Bridge on I-540 could total more than $100 million, which would then make it the largest single highway construction contract awarded in state history ....

At least AHTD seems to be giving some serious thought to the I-49 Arkansas River bridge.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #466 on: September 26, 2013, 02:25:27 PM »


This article, primarily an update about the (non-Future I-49) I-540 construction work in Fort Smith, notes that the I-540 Arkansas River bridge is not being upgraded, primarily because funding for the Future I-49 Arkansas River bridge is a higher priority:

I was beginning to wonder about that. The construction crews have signs all around saying "DO NOT DAMAGE BRIDGE".

Still, it's disappointing the roadway is being rebuilt with asphalt instead of concrete. :(
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #467 on: September 26, 2013, 02:42:09 PM »


This article, primarily an update about the (non-Future I-49) I-540 construction work in Fort Smith, notes that the I-540 Arkansas River bridge is not being upgraded, primarily because funding for the Future I-49 Arkansas River bridge is a higher priority:

I was beginning to wonder about that. The construction crews have signs all around saying "DO NOT DAMAGE BRIDGE".

Still, it's disappointing the roadway is being rebuilt with asphalt instead of concrete. :(
Really? Is this the first time that such signs have been used? (I've never seen them anywhere in all my 43 years of traveling.)
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US71

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #468 on: September 26, 2013, 02:53:01 PM »


This article, primarily an update about the (non-Future I-49) I-540 construction work in Fort Smith, notes that the I-540 Arkansas River bridge is not being upgraded, primarily because funding for the Future I-49 Arkansas River bridge is a higher priority:

I was beginning to wonder about that. The construction crews have signs all around saying "DO NOT DAMAGE BRIDGE".

Still, it's disappointing the roadway is being rebuilt with asphalt instead of concrete. :(
Really? Is this the first time that such signs have been used? (I've never seen them anywhere in all my 43 years of traveling.)

They're not on the highway, per se, but in the construction areas. There's usually too much traffic to try to get a pic.
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Grzrd

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #469 on: September 27, 2013, 11:29:48 AM »

I recently received an email update from AHTD regarding the designation of I-49 in Arkansas:

Quote
As you can see from the attached map, we have recently requested route designation changes for several sections of the Highway 71/State Highway 549/I-540 corridor in western Arkansas.

From the attached map (SW Arkansas image posted in Texarkana thread):


It looks like they have asked for the I-49 designation along I-540 from Alma to Bentonville. October 17 should be a big I-49 day!
« Last Edit: September 27, 2013, 11:43:33 AM by Grzrd »
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #470 on: September 27, 2013, 01:29:50 PM »

GREAT WORK, GRZRD!
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #471 on: September 27, 2013, 03:38:19 PM »

Forgot to ask (sorry if you posted) why October 17th? Will the results of the petitioning be released then from the Feds?  Forgive my ignorance on this process.
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Grzrd

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #472 on: September 27, 2013, 04:14:16 PM »

why October 17th?

http://route.transportation.org/Pages/default.aspx

Quote
Next Meeting of the Special Committee on US Route Number will meet in Denver, CO, October 17, 2013 - Applications due no later than September 9, 2013
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #473 on: September 27, 2013, 04:29:01 PM »

why October 17th?

http://route.transportation.org/Pages/default.aspx

Quote
Next Meeting of the Special Committee on US Route Number will meet in Denver, CO, October 17, 2013 - Applications due no later than September 9, 2013

Thank you, Grzrd...the wait begins.

What's fascinating is that just this past week voters approved a millage for a new high school for Bentonville, AR (enrollment by 2016, the year the new school would ostensibly be built, is projected to be around 5,400 kids at the existing Bentonville High, amazing for a school that had around 900 kids 20 years ago).  Already on local news there are reports of a new Walmart plus multiple building permits for the city of Centerton, AR (immediately west of Bentonville, south of the Bella Vista bypass) merely because of the new high school being built.  With the developer of Chaffee Crossing promising Fort Smith will be "unrecognizable" in 5 years (at least his corner, the east side of it) plus a third high school possibly being built in Fort Smith at CC (a sign is up for it already) it's going to be fascinating to see how this plays out, and what a future I-49 will bring throughout northwest and west Arkansas.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #474 on: October 04, 2013, 09:06:43 PM »

It looks like they have asked for the I-49 designation along I-540 from Alma to Bentonville. October 17 should be a big I-49 day!

AHTD has posted its September 30 presentation to the Springdale Rotary Club and it has numerous slides about costs and timetables for individual segments of the Bella Vista Bypass and I-540 (I-49 in less than two weeks?) improvements under the Connecting Arkansas Program and the Interstate Rehabilitation Program.
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