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The Arkansas Department of Transportation will conduct a public meeting in early March about an improved connection between the Northwest Arkansas National Airport and the Springdale Northern Bypass in Benton County.

The public is invited to listen, view meeting materials and provide written comments. A website will be available for comments until 4:30 p.m. March 17.

People will have an opportunity to ask questions and make comments during a "live" virtual presentation from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. March 2.

Garver, the engineering company, in coordination with the Transportation Department, will conduct the virtual public hearing at https://xnaaccess.transportationplanroom.com/ .

This website will provide project materials and handouts that would have been shown at an in-person meeting. A separate link on the page will provide a Spanish version of the presentation. There will also be an option to send online comment forms to project staff, or people can print the form and mail it to Garver, Attn: Lindi Miller, 4701 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock, AR 72118.

People who don't have internet access may contact Lindi Miller at 501-823-0730 or [email protected] to ask questions about the proposed project and how to access project information.

The proposed access road to the Northwest Arkansas National Airport shouldn't significantly affect threatened or endangered species or environmentally sensitive areas if it's built in a direct line from the Springdale Northern Bypass and Arkansas 112 interchange, according to an environmental assessment study released earlier this month.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation wants a new four-lane, limited access road to the airport because it provides the most direct and reliable route. The proposed road reduces the likelihood of congestion, accidents or extreme weather events interfering with people getting to and from the airport, according to the study.

Transportation Department officials will decide if there are any significant problems with the proposed route after a public input session and review of comments from residents, public officials and public entities.

The proposed route could go to the Federal Highway Administration for approval later this year.

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