Voters in Missouri are deciding if they want to extend the Bella Vista Bypass into their state. The 19-mile project would be built from Bentonville in to Pineville, MO, which would become a section of Interstate 49.
A three-mile stretch of the Bella Vista Bypass in Hiwasse is complete and being used by drivers.
Arkansas voters approved the half cent sales tax to pay for its part of the two lane $150 million Bella Vista Bypass. However, voters in Missouri are deciding if they want to pay for five miles of the bypass into their state costing them close to $40 million.
If Missouri voters reject the highway tax, the bypass will stop about two miles south of the Arkansas-Missouri border on County Road 34, according to John McLarty, transportation study director for the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission.
“It’s not a road to nowhere, but it would be a road to a county road up in North Arkansas on the west side of Bella Vista,” McLarty said. “But it would be much nicer to go to Pineville, MO in the Missouri portion of it.”
If the highway tax passes, people will be able to drive from Bentonville into Missouri on interstate 49. The Bella Vista bypass would complete I-49 from Fort Smith to Kansas City.
“It’s eventually going to go all the way from Shreveport, Louisiana up to Kansas City, and then even plan to be further North,” McLarty said. “It’s a major interstate corridor and this is one of the missing pieces of it.”
“We are close to having the money to finish it so we’d like to just get the job done,” he said.
Interstate 49 ultimately will connect Louisiana all the way to Canada.