The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department earlier today agreed to pay nearly $101 million for the construction of the first section of the U.S. 412 Bypass of Springdale, meaning one of the Northwest Arkansas region’s highest priority projects should start being built early next year.
The $100,620,381 bid went to Eutaw Construction of Aberdeen, Mississippi to build the four-mile, four-lane section of the highway that will make the drive to the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport quicker. There were seven construction bidders, and Eutaw submitted the lowest bid.
The start of the U.S. 412 Bypass of Springdale is occurring because statewide voters approved a half-cent sales tax in November 2012. That sales tax is supporting the Connecting Arkansas Program (CAP).
The CAP is paying for major projects across the state, including three key Northwest Arkansas projects. Widening sections of Interstate 49 to six lanes, building a two-lane version of the Bella Vista Bypass and paying for the four-mile section of the U.S. 412 Bypass of Springdale are the largest CAP projects in Northwest Arkansas. The three Northwest Arkansas projects for more than a decade have been listed as top priorities for state and Northwest Arkansas leaders.
U.S. 412 Bypass construction crews will cut a path that heads west from Interstate 49 near the Wagon Wheel Road exit. They’ll build bridges over creeks and secondary roads on their way toward where the bypass will connect with Arkansas Highway 112. The work is scheduled to be complete in late 2018.
The importance of the entire U.S. 412 Bypass to the future of Northwest Arkansas can’t be overstated. The ultimate goal is for the bypass to run from just west of Tontitown to the community of Sonora, which is east of Springdale. The completed highway will allow east-west travelers to avoid U.S. 412 (Sunset Avenue/Robinson Avenue) through Springdale, which can be one of the region’s most congested roads.
Northwest Arkansas communities and the state Highway Department have taken major steps over the past few years to improve the region’s east-west connectivity. Among the projects that improved east-west connections were Springdale’s Don Tyson Parkway and its access to I-49, Bentonville’s upgrades to Central Avenue, Fayetteville’s construction of the Fayetteville Flyover that allows in-town motorists to more easily head west toward I-49, improvements to Pleasant Grove Road in Rogers, and the Highway Department’s widening of U.S. 412 through Siloam Springs.