Improvements Proposed For Exit 85 Interchange On I-49 In Benton County

BENTON COUNTY (KFSM) -- Another interchange on Interstate 49 will undergo construction as part of widening the highway between Fayetteville and Bella Vista.

The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department said the interchange at Exit 85, where West Walnut Street and Walton Boulevard intersect, will be the first of its kind in Arkansas. All traffic will be controlled with one traffic signal in the middle of the interchange and heavily-traveled Walton and Walnut will be six lanes.

Bentonville and Rogers will each contribute $1.5 million to the project and once construction is complete they will take over the maintenance of the urban portions of 71B.

The traffic signals on either side of I-49 will be removed and replaced with a new one that will go underneath a new bridge.

There will also be a traffic signal installed at Moberly Lane in Bentonville.

City of Rogers Project Engineer Nathan Becknell said the changes will benefit drivers.

“It's one of our highest congested areas in the city and one of our highest crash rate intersections there at 46th and Walnut, so we`re excited for this to happen and to hopefully help with some of that congestion and maybe lower accidents as part of that as well,” he said.

Becknell said the area is fortunate to have a highway department and residents who are putting an emphasis on roads.

“That will only help our region as it expands to continue to accommodate more and more people as they continue to come in and we`re trying our best to stay in front of that,” he said.

Construction is expected to start in 2018 and is scheduled to wrap up by 2020. The project is projected to cost between $20 and $30 million. To fill out a citizen comment form, click here.