Construction On I-49 Interchange In Benton County Could Begin Soon

BENTON COUNTY (KFSM) -- Bids were opened Wednesday (July 25) by state highway officials, one of which is a heavily congested interchange where Rogers and Bentonville meet on 71B.

Exit 85 is where Walnut in Rogers and Walton in Bentonville meet, and is often congested with traffic.

ArDOT said the low bidder was APAC Center at just under $27 million. They said if the bid is confirmed construction could begin in 4 to 6 weeks on Arkansas` first single point interchange, or SPUI.

Single Point Urban Interchange at Exit 85 on I-49

“The SPUI is very complex, but it moves a lot of traffic very efficiently in a confined space. And so our engineers thought this would be a great application of the design at this particular interchange,” Danny Straessle said.

Rogers city engineer Nathan Becknell said this area has the highest congestion in the city and a lot of accidents.

“Particularly in the city of Rogers, east of the interstate, that intersection with 46th street is just so close to the interchange. You all know when you drive through there that it`s difficult to get into the turn lane or get out of the turn lane wherever you are in that area,” Becknell said.

The City of Bentonville and Rogers will both contribute $1.5 million dollars to the project.

City of Bentonville Transportation Engineer, Dennis Birge said this SPUI design has limited impact on right-of-way, thus will lower the impact on nearby businesses.

ArDOT said this area of 1-49 is the last remaining area of mileage where we are just down to two lanes in both directions.

Straessle said the I-49 bridges over 71B must be also be completely replaced.

“They will start in the middle and then they will swap with north or southbound traffic over to it and we`ll maintain two lanes of traffic in both directions during the whole process and then they`ll build the new bridge, swap traffic back over and then they`ll tackle the other set of lanes,” he said.

ArDOT expects the project to take just less than two years to finish.