Growth in Northwest Arkansas can create traffic nightmares, and the state is adding a roadside feature to make the driving commute a little bit safer.
The state Highway and Transportation Department is installing cable barriers in sections of the median along Interstate 540 from Fayetteville to Bentonville. The project extends 24 miles in Washington and Benton counties.
The highway department says research shows that cable barriers minimize crossover accidents and can help save lives.
“States that have installed these cable barriers have experienced a 90-percent reduction in crossover crash fatalities,” said Steve Lawrence, district engineer for the highway department in Harrison. “What we are installing is a four-strand, wire-rope safety fence. It's a series of cables that are supported by supports that come out of a foundation.”
If voters pass a proposed half-cent sales tax in November, the highway department wants to expand Interstate 540 in Northwest Arkansas to six lanes. Part of that project would include a concrete median barrier that would replace the cable barriers.
The highway department is also installing cable barriers along sections of Interstate 40 between Little Rock and Conway.