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— In recent years, anxious for the completion of some highway public-works projects that promise to make driving easier and/or safer, many county residents have learned to virtually recite a list of road projects the state has worked on in Benton County.

But even with an incomplete list, those state projects in Benton County vary widely in their particulars. So even the most careful of list makers might not be expected to know whatever happened to some of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department projects in Benton County.

That is, the most careful save one, AHTD public information officer David Niles, who upon request by the Benton County Daily Record, readily retrieved department plans for projects, even though he seemed already to be thoroughly familiar with the projects.

• The Bella Vista Bypass Project: The long-anticipated project is to be a 19-mile road that would bypass U.S. Highway 71 starting in Bentonville (at the south end) and reconnect with U.S. 71 near Pineville, Mo.

A discretionary grant is being sought for the project, and the grant application was turned in on Sept. 15, 2009, Niles said.

The result of that application won’t be known until Jan. 17, 2010, he said.

And, there’s more than one project in the works on Arkansas Highway 59, Niles said.

“You’ve got a couple of things going on (there),” he said.

• Arkansas Highway 59: A major widening to five lanes has just been essentially completed for a little less than three miles of Arkansas 59 from U.S. Highway 412 and on northward, Niles said.

“That one from 412 northward is pretty much done,” he said.

The cost of the project was $7.2 million, Niles said.

• Arkansas Highway 59: A major widening to four lanes has been completed for some three miles of Arkansas 59 from Gentry and on southward, Niles said.

It was completed early this year at a cost of $14 million, he said.

The two Arkansas 59 projects “meet in the middle,” the public information officer said.

• Arkansas Highway 102: A little less than 2 1/2 miles of Arkansas 102, from U.S. 71 Business to Greenhouse Road, will be widened to five lanes, Niles said.

News, Pages 12 on 11/11/2009

Print Headline: Local projects make progress

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