Road Construction Could Delay XNA Travelers

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BENTONVILLE (KFSM) - Road construction may hinder visitors to Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport over the next several weeks.

Officials said they are closing a section of the road at the airport's north entrance because of issues when there is heavy rainfall.

"When we get a 20, 30 or 100-year rain event, we will get that whole thing flooded," XNA director Kelly Johnson said, "It puts us in the position to close the roadway for safety reasons."

She said it is an issue because the road is an emergency access road for the airport. Johnson said when it rains between 3 to 5 inches in a short amount of time, people are unable to pass through the road.

"That causes problems for our customers trying to get to the terminal building," Johnson said, "They have to detour and come around, and if they're tight on time at all, it has resulted in some missed flights in the past."

Johnson said the road has flooded two to three times a year since the airport was built in 1998. She said crews are adding five culverts to help drainage.

The project began Monday (July 14).  The road will become one lane with a small detour Monday (July 21).

Bentonville native Scott Burford comes to XNA daily because of business. He said he uses the north entrance four to five times a week.

"The delay will be a hassle for sure," Burford said.

Burford said for the next several weeks, he will have to add ten to fifteen minutes onto his commute to the airport.

Airport officials said the $656,135 project is slated to take 42 days. A state aeronautics grant is covering $350,000 of the cost. The rest of the cost is covered by revenue of the airport.