AASHTO Journal, 21 February 2014
Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department officials recently announced the agency will begin gearing up for its first project under its new highway program by opening bids next week.
AHTD will begin accepting bids on Wednesday, Feb. 26 for the next phase of the Bella Vista Bypass, a large project that includes the construction of a new highway to extend 19 miles between Highway 71 in Bentonville and Interstate 49 in Pineville, Missouri. It will first open as a two-lane highway but ultimately become four lanes. The first two phases (totaling $33.5 million in contracted work) are underway and are expected to be completed at the end of the year. The next phase, which is the one for which AHTD is accepting bids next week, will extend the new highway about six miles from Highway 72 southeast of Hiwasse to Highway 71 in Bentonville. This portion of the Bella Vista Bypass will be the first project to benefit from the state’s Connecting Arkansas Program, the voter-approved measure passed in 2012 that allowed for a 10-year, half-cent sales tax aimed at improving the state’s transportation system.
According to AHTD, CAP will tackle a list of 31 projects (available here) that cover about 180 miles of highways, representing roughly $1.8 billion in investment into the state’s highway system.
“The CAP is one of the largest highway construction programs ever undertaken by the department,” said AHTD Director Scott Bennett in a statement. “Voters of the state spoke up with the passage of the program. Now it’s time for us to get the construction going, starting with another phase of the new Bella Vista Bypass.”
Additional information on CAP is available here.