Western North-South Connector Study


Frequent Questions

What has happened since the last meeting?

A Virtual Public Involvement Meeting was held last year to compile public comments. After receiving public comments, the study continued and showed several findings. The findings included that a new corridor could:

  • Improve connectivity in western Benton County between Hwy 612 and Hwy 549
  • Improve mobility by providing an alternate route to avoid congestion
  • Improve access to the Northwest Arkansas National Airport
  • Improve resiliency of regional transportation system


What are the proposed alignment alternatives?

Four alternatives were developed and analyzed:

  • Alternative 1 – Improve Existing (Yellow)
  • Alternative 2 – Eastern Alignment (Pink)
  • Alternative 3 – Middle Alignment (Green)
  • Alternative 4 – Western Alignment (Orange)


What do the colored alignment buffers represent on the alternatives maps?

On the alternatives maps, 3/4-mile-wide alignment buffers are shown to provide a general idea of where the Western North-South Connector could go. Ultimately, a new roadway would be much narrower, and the final location would be aligned to minimize property impacts. In many cases, the Western North-South Connector could follow existing roads or those that cities have already proposed in their Master Street Plans.


What type of roadway facility would the Western North-South Connector be?

This study envisions the Western North-South Connector as a two-lane or four-lane arterial roadway. This would be similar to other recently improved area roads, such as Highway 12 and Highway 102. (Note: Although a freeway was previously discussed in a 2011 study, this study does not envision an interstate-type roadway.)


When will this project take place?

This planning level study is the first effort in understanding the need for a new roadway and where it could be built. State and local agencies will use the study results, as well as this public meeting’s feedback, to inform long-term transportation plans for the region. Before any roadway is built, funding would need to be dedicated, and environmental review and design steps would be required.


What is the project background?

In Benton County, local officials have suggested that a highway connection from the proposed Highway 612 (Springdale Northern Bypass) to Highway 549 (Bella Vista Bypass) west of Interstate 49 and in the vicinity of the Northwest Arkansas National Airport could improve regional mobility.


What is the purpose of the study?

  • Determine the need for a new highway connection from the proposed Highway 612 (Springdale Northern Bypass) to Highway 549 (Bella Vista Bypass) west of Interstate 49
  • Identify feasible alternatives for addressing regional needs
  • Develop cost estimates for each alternative
  • Engage with stakeholders throughout the study process
  • Note: The 2040 Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Transportation Plan proposes north-south corridor improvements within the study area.


What are the study goals?

  • Improve connectivity (primary study goal)
  • Improve mobility/relieve congestion
  • Improve reliability
  • Enhance safety/security
  • Improve resiliency
  • Strengthen economic competitiveness
  • Support alternative transportation choices
  • Maintain a state of good repair
  • Minimize impacts to the natural, historic, and cultural environments


What are the next steps?

  • Study team will review stakeholder input and finalize study documents for presentation to the ARDOT Administration and Arkansas State Highway Commission.
  • At this time, no funds have been identified for implementation of any improvements discussed in this study.
  • Once funding is available, future steps include the environmental review process and design.


How does this study relate to the ongoing Northwest Arkansas National Airport access road study?

ARDOT is performing an environmental assessment to evaluate alternatives for the proposed XNA access road. This study will incorporate the findings and recommendations of the XNA access road study.