Interstate 49 Construction Costs More Than $100 Million

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BENTON COUNTY (KFSM) -- Driving in Northwest Arkansas can be a headache.

While traveling south along the interstate in Lowell, lanes merge from three to two lanes, causing many traffic delays.

Danny Straessle with the Arkansas Department of Transportation explained that the contractor of that project is working in the median area, therefore causing traffic to be detoured.

"The median is the most dangerous place to work on the interstate because you`ve got traffic going in both directions at a very close proximity. And even more so now where we`ve added that inside lane, it brings the traffic even closer," Straessle explained.

Straessle assures drivers work is happening in that area, and asks that they are patient during this process.

This project, which includes the Springdale Northern Bypass interchange and the Fulbright Expressway, is set to cost more than $100 million dollars. It is the most expensive project the highway department has worked, Straessle added.

Work is still underway on the Fulbright Expressway. The road workers are constructing the realignment of the north and south lanes.

"We`re realigning so Interstate 49 lanes stay together north and southbound and make that loop around the wooded area that`s over there. We are re-configuring some of the interchanges over there," Straessle said.

Straessle also explained that drainage structures are being installed to keep water off the interstate.

"All the expansion work we are doing right now on I-49 between Fayetteville and Bella Vista will serve the needs well into the future (for) at least for 20 years," Straessle said.

The construction in the said zones is expected to be complete by spring 2019.