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— Dozens of persons interested in the Bella Vista bypass highway project attended a hearing Thursday at the GHS Commons. The hearing was to allow the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to hear comments concerning making the bypass a toll road.

Maps on display showed the possible toll booth configuration and explanations were offered by AHD employees.

The hearing is part of an ongoing effort to secure some $250 special federal funding needed to complete the longplanned project. If Arkansas, in cooperation with Missouri, receives the entire amount sought, the road would not require tolls to finance its construction.

If no money is received, resident engineer David Busey said, the road will be built on a pay-as-you-go basis. Missouri already has funds for its portion of the program.

Possible toll for the 15-plus mile stretch of road in Arkansas is 10-15 cents per mile for the entire length. How the incremental segments between toll booths and exits may or nay not be prorated has not been finalized. A possible "pike-pass" system could be an equitable solution; otherwise the per-mile cost could be higher for short-distance users.

News, Pages 9 on 08/12/2009

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