Section of I-49 Will Be Reduced To One Lane

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BENTON COUNTY (KFSM)- The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) will reduce northbound traffic to one lane on Interstate 49 between exit 76 and 78.

Crews are widening that 2.6- mile stretch to three lanes and they are almost done. They'll repave the two existing lanes to have three freshly paved lanes on that section.

Steve Lawrence, AHTD District Engineer, said, they weren't planning on repaving the existing lanes but noticed it had cracks and potholes, which caused them to add it to the project.

The work will start Friday (Oct. 3) at 8:30 p.m. and end Monday (Oct. 6) at 6 a.m., if weather doesn't cause any delays. AHTD chose those hours to minimize the inconvenience to drivers, Lawrence said.

It will cost $14.5 million for the section of the project.

Keith Wood, who lives in Bentonville, said he travels to Springdale on I-49 several times a week for work.

"It's looking good," Wood said. "I think it's going to be good when it gets done."

He said it's a bit frustrating driving through all of the construction.

"It's fewer and fewer people going the speed limit as I got to Springdale," he said.

Bill Pickard lives in Lowell. He said driving by concrete barriers in the construction zone is nerve-wracking.

"I'm always afraid because people don't watch the lanes, don't watch each other, they've narrowed the lanes and I'm driving next to concrete barrier on the left," Pickard said. "It makes me anxious."

"I've watch them take a lot of time, longer than other places so I'm glad they are nearly finished," Pickard said.

This is part of the bigger project to widen I-49 to six lanes, which is expected to be done by 2020.

In two weeks, crews plan to do the same work on the southbound lanes. AHTD is waiting until after the Arkansas vs. Alabama game to complete that work.