courtesy: ARDOT

With more people living in west Fayetteville, Farmington, Prairie Grove and Lincoln, the Interstate 49 interchange at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard can get congested. Traffic lights on either side of the overpass at the interchange can compound the problem. The Arkansas Department of Transportation has developed proposals to simplify and speed up the interchange, but residents and business owners in the area were not thrilled about the first two ideas presented to them in 2017.

Z. Sitek / KUAF

The Arkansas Department of Transportation cut the ribbon Wednesday on a 4.5-mile portion of the Springdale Northern Bypass, or future Highway 412. The bypass will eventually connect to existing Highway 412 on the west side of Tontitown and on the east side of Sonora. The section of the highway unveiled Wednesday will be open to drivers starting April 30.


Cities encouraging more walking and less driving might thrive in the coming century. Jeff Speck, author of "Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step at a Time" will speak at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Fayetteville Town Center. He says making changes to a more walkable city can be done with less expense than other major infrastructure alterations like building new roads.

The Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission will seek more than 32-million dollars from a federal transportation fund to help finish a stretch of Interstate 49 across a state line.

On a recent summer afternoon, workers and trucks buzzed in and out of a pump station under construction in DeValls Bluff.  Several miles away, the site of what will eventually be a 100-acre regulating reservoir is currently filled with dirt.

Already 17 years in the making, the project tends to spark cycles of controversy among those who say it’s a badly needed solution to the region’s water woes and those who say it’s too large of a financial and environmental burden.  Such woes include rapidly dwindling ground water.