Highway projects underway in Arkansas - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Highway projects underway in Arkansas

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A nearly $2 billion construction program is under way in Arkansas. 
The projects will not only create about 40-thousand jobs, but will also connect different parts of the state with four-lane highways.
Most of the work is elsewhere, but Southwest Arkansas did make the list. 

A ceremony in Little Rock marked the first of 31 Highway projects to be constructed under the $1.8 billion Connecting Arkansas Program (CAP). 
The program is funded with a 10-year half-cent sales tax that was approved by voters in 2012. 

"The CAP consists of capacity projects, where we will be adding lanes to particular highways to ultimately make them four lane highways on varies corridors in the state," said AHTD Spokesperson Randy Ort. 

He says the program is an investment in the future of Arkansas roadways.
Ort says the list is based on roads that already have design work done or started, as well as, those where plans have already been made.

However, the funding was not available.  

The first project is a six-mile portion of the new Bella Vista Bypass from Bentonville to Hiwasse in Northwestern Arkansas, which is the fastest growing region in the state.
The other 30 projects include widening and improvements to highways statewide.    
One of those projects include a section of Highway 82 in Columbia County, Arkansas.  

"That's part of our overall, long range plan to ultimately widen all of Highway 82 to four lanes across the southern part of the state," said Ort. 

Construction would start at the intersection on 79 North and Highway 82 in Magnolia and end near County Road 525, going east to El Dorado.
There are about 4,000 vehicles that travel the Highway 82 bypass daily. 

"We've done some preliminary work on them, but we still have quite a bit of work to do before it's ready to go to contract. That's why those projects are in 2016 and 2017," said Ort. 
Officials say nine miles of Highway 82 will be widened from a two lane highway to a four lane highway, and the section of road between 79 North and 79 South will be a 5 lane road.
The total cost of the project is estimated to be about $12 million to $15 million.

"Many times on a narrower road where we have fewer lanes and any kind of turning movements can cause rear end collisions. The projects will all enhance safety and mobility," said Ort.  
The first useable section of the Bella Vista Bypass opened to traffic earlier this week.
The Highway 82 project in Magnolia is expected to be completed by 2018. 
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