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Author Topic: Improving US 412 in Arkansas  (Read 889 times)

US71

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Improving US 412 in Arkansas
« on: July 17, 2018, 10:39:59 AM »

http://arkansashighways.com/news/2018/NR%2018-204.pdf

ARDOT is hosting meetings on proposed improvements/upgrades to US 412 in Arkansas. I am hoping to attend the meeting in Huntsville and see what they are proposing.
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MikieTimT

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Re: Improving US 412 in Arkansas
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2018, 08:20:10 PM »

I'd like to as well, but it's far enough away that it'd be hard to get back home in time to get setup for a presentation in Fayetteville Friday morning first thing.  I take that road a couple of times a year to check up on clients as it's the more enjoyable route from Fayetteville to Jonesboro, as long as there aren't many trucks holding up the flow.  I can't see them doing 4-lane from Huntsville on over to Walnut Ridge until after I'm too old to care, but it sure would be nice not to have to drop clear to Central Arkansas to have freeway access between NWA and NEA, which are pretty much the fastest growing areas of Arkansas.  At least a few more strategically placed truck lanes would improve the flow quite a bit until they can pull together funding to cut through the mountains for a freeway.  Hopefully, they post a follow-up to this meeting online for those who cannot attend, or at least put soft copies of the materials on a website.  It'd be great if they just had some sort of ballpark timeframe for completing the 412 Bypass around Springdale.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2018, 08:22:18 PM by MikieTimT »
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US71

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Re: Improving US 412 in Arkansas
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2018, 11:34:51 AM »

This was a bit of a let down. There were maps spread out showing 412 from Oklahoma to Harrison, but nothing on planned improvements beyond the Springdale Bypass (and no proposed timeline). Instead, it was for locals to point out problem areas in need of improvement. There were several notes around Berryville and several around Harrison.
I asked several questions of the ARDOT representatives, but they didn't seem prepared to answer anything, just stand around and watch people put Post-it notes on the maps.
I asked about their tendency to carry out pet projects as opposed to projects of higher importance and was told (a) they do that anymore and (b) the highway commission makes these decisions. I asked about if they had plans for an Alpena bypass and was told the traffic engineer who lives there doesn't want one.

Pardon my cynicism, but it sounds like ARDOT is rooted in bureaucracy. Then again, since they're a government agency, I guess they would be.

I left with more questions than answers.
 
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MikieTimT

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Re: Improving US 412 in Arkansas
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2018, 01:18:32 PM »

Yeah, the districts hold too much sway in Arkansas, so they do what they can to protect their fiefdoms to the detriment of anything that resembles a statewide system of roads really.  The only way big things get done is with federal money forcing them to work together.  And since there isn't much of that these days, I wouldn't expect much out of meetings like this.  I thought originally the 400 series of US highways were really placeholder numbers for high-priority corridors, but they sure don't seem like they're treated like it from what I've seen.
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dariusb

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Re: Improving US 412 in Arkansas
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2018, 10:48:56 PM »

Were there ever plans to upgrade 412 to a freeway between the Oklahoma state line to Springdale?
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US71

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Re: Improving US 412 in Arkansas
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2018, 11:14:53 PM »

Were there ever plans to upgrade 412 to a freeway between the Oklahoma state line to Springdale?

They did a partial upgrade a few years back around Siloam Springs (putting in a median), plus the expressway section to near Tontitown. There is a bypass planned from near Siloam Springs to east of Springdale...IF they ever have the money to finish it.
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edwaleni

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Re: Improving US 412 in Arkansas
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2018, 12:17:38 AM »

This was a bit of a let down. There were maps spread out showing 412 from Oklahoma to Harrison, but nothing on planned improvements beyond the Springdale Bypass (and no proposed timeline). Instead, it was for locals to point out problem areas in need of improvement. There were several notes around Berryville and several around Harrison.
I asked several questions of the ARDOT representatives, but they didn't seem prepared to answer anything, just stand around and watch people put Post-it notes on the maps.
I asked about their tendency to carry out pet projects as opposed to projects of higher importance and was told (a) they do that anymore and (b) the highway commission makes these decisions. I asked about if they had plans for an Alpena bypass and was told the traffic engineer who lives there doesn't want one.

Pardon my cynicism, but it sounds like ARDOT is rooted in bureaucracy. Then again, since they're a government agency, I guess they would be.

I left with more questions than answers.

These "public events" are merely places where people can collect information and pass on questions.  This is a new tool used by highway and transportation bureaucrats to avoid getting questions or complaints directly (in their face) from the taxpayers.

They meet the letter of the law by holding these public information sessions, but they are not "hearings" in an official sense, because there is no agenda nor is there any notes or minutes taken.  Hearings take place in controlled environments and feedback is more limited. Usually by forcing people to fill out a card and wait for their turn at a podium. Then you only have 5 minutes to ask and get answers.

Over the years people have become less and less capable of maintaining their emotions when dealing with bureaucrats in public events, so this is the response. There are firms hired by DOT's to perform these functions so they don't have to.

I can recall one of these public events being held for a controversial transportation project and the people opposed to it got all riled up and made sure almost 100 people showed up to "express themselves". The problem was, they entered a room full of maps, the "consultants" knew nothing of the project, they would just hand you a card to enter your comments and point you to a box to drop it in.

It completely disarmed the emotions of the group there to "make noise" and attempt to pressure the DOT on their decisions by being loud and obnoxious. Instead, all it produced was blogs and blogs on how corrupt the DOT was by refusing to face the public.

I think if the public discourse was more mature DOT's would be less inclined to avoid these public sessions, but based on current events, that just doesn't seem possible.

Honestly I have seen better results when groups (opposing or for it) hire a lawyer or lobbyist and then go after the DOT using their local representative.
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cjk374

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Re: Improving US 412 in Arkansas
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2018, 08:26:57 AM »

LADOTD does not use consultants to operate their public information meetings. The one I attended actually had their project engineers and, IIRC, district manager present. I was shocked when I mentioned a DDI & they knew what I was talking about.
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MikieTimT

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Re: Improving US 412 in Arkansas
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2018, 08:22:01 PM »

Were there ever plans to upgrade 412 to a freeway between the Oklahoma state line to Springdale?

They did a partial upgrade a few years back around Siloam Springs (putting in a median), plus the expressway section to near Tontitown. There is a bypass planned from near Siloam Springs to east of Springdale...IF they ever have the money to finish it.

They'll have to bypass Siloam Springs and West Siloam Springs altogether to connect the freeway sections on both ends to have freeway from the Oklahoma border area to Tontitown.  That will be a completely separate project from the Springdale 412 Bypass, of which only the central section of the 3 is complete.  Who knows when they'll ever get around to bypassing Siloam Springs.  The next segment of the Springdale 412 Bypass will be a section from where the divided highway ends west of Tontitown up north of it to connect to where it currently intersects with AR 112.  And there will be another segment from next to J.B. Hunt in Lowell through the Bethel Heights area to over by Sonora where the divided highway begins over by the twin bridges over the White River.  Once those pieces are done, that's probably all that happens until they get funding to cut through the mountainous terrain between Huntsville and Alpena.  Who knows if we'll see that happen in the next 25 years.  And there's less overall traffic east of Harrison other than local traffic in Mt. Home and Ash Flat to warrant much attention until the western half and a Harrison bypass are completed.
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US71

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Re: Improving US 412 in Arkansas
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2018, 08:59:18 PM »

Were there ever plans to upgrade 412 to a freeway between the Oklahoma state line to Springdale?

They did a partial upgrade a few years back around Siloam Springs (putting in a median), plus the expressway section to near Tontitown. There is a bypass planned from near Siloam Springs to east of Springdale...IF they ever have the money to finish it.

They'll have to bypass Siloam Springs and West Siloam Springs altogether to connect the freeway sections on both ends to have freeway from the Oklahoma border area to Tontitown.  That will be a completely separate project from the Springdale 412 Bypass, of which only the central section of the 3 is complete.  Who knows when they'll ever get around to bypassing Siloam Springs.  The next segment of the Springdale 412 Bypass will be a section from where the divided highway ends west of Tontitown up north of it to connect to where it currently intersects with AR 112.  And there will be another segment from next to J.B. Hunt in Lowell through the Bethel Heights area to over by Sonora where the divided highway begins over by the twin bridges over the White River.  Once those pieces are done, that's probably all that happens until they get funding to cut through the mountainous terrain between Huntsville and Alpena.  Who knows if we'll see that happen in the next 25 years.  And there's less overall traffic east of Harrison other than local traffic in Mt. Home and Ash Flat to warrant much attention until the western half and a Harrison bypass are completed.

Based on what little info was available at the meeting, the next section is to be from I-49 to (Future) AR 265/ Old Wire Rd
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MikieTimT

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Re: Improving US 412 in Arkansas
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2018, 11:32:31 PM »

Huh, and here I figured that they were wanting to do the new access road to XNA, so I thought that the western segment would go next.  Guess they haven't got all the ducks in a row yet for that road anyway.  Are they waiting on the extension of AR 265 to be completed before doing the next segment of the Springdale Bypass?
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US71

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Re: Improving US 412 in Arkansas
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2018, 08:33:59 AM »

Huh, and here I figured that they were wanting to do the new access road to XNA, so I thought that the western segment would go next.  Guess they haven't got all the ducks in a row yet for that road anyway.  Are they waiting on the extension of AR 265 to be completed before doing the next segment of the Springdale Bypass?

I'm not sure ARDOT ever has their ducks in a row. Too many projects, too little money, too many differing opinions on where to start.

 
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