Fayetteville, AR Enjoys Good Infrastructure Network

Roads, air, rail, utilities help economy move forward

By
Kevin Litwin
On Thursday, August 13, 2015 - 15:33
Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport

It helps to have good connections, and a strong infrastructure network is in place throughout Fayetteville and the Northwest Arkansas region.

“The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department has spent $1.3 billion in recent years on 331 road projects in Washington County (Fayetteville) and neighboring Benton County, especially along key corridors between the cities of Fayetteville and Bentonville,” says Dick Trammel, chairman of the Arkansas State Highway Commission. “The future for highway travel in and around Fayetteville is really good.”

Major thoroughfares serving Fayetteville include Interstate 49, U.S. Routes 62 and 71, and Arkansas Highways 16, 45, 112, 180 and 265.

“A key just-completed road project was the widening of Razorback Road (Highway 112) to four and five lanes between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Leroy Pond Drive, which was especially important because the road runs along the parking lots for University of Arkansas football games,” Trammel says.

Other big road projects include the widening of Highway 16 to four lanes between Armstrong Avenue and Stonebridge Road, and a huge future effort will be widening the I-49 Corridor to six lanes and adding interchanges between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Highway 72 in Bentonville.

“The I-49 Corridor project should be completed by early 2020 – that's the one that people in Fayetteville are really interested in,” Trammel says. “One of the fastest-growing areas in the United States is Northwest Arkansas, and the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department is doing its best to help residents and commerce in that region move forward.”

Energy, Air and Rail

Other key contributors to the area's infrastructure network are AEP Swepco and Ozarks Electric Cooperative, which provide electricity to this region, while SourceGas is the natural gas provider. Meanwhile, Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas air travelers are served by Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, which opened in 1998. The airport hosts five commercial carriers (Allegiant, American, Delta, United and U.S. Airways) with numerous direct flights to many U.S. cities.

As for rail, Fayetteville companies can move cargo freight via the Arkansas Missouri Railroad, which has operated between Fort Smith, Ark., and Monett, Mo., for the past 29 years. The railroad annually transports about 36,000 carloads of freight, hauling commodities such as sand, grain, poultry products, frozen products and scrap metal.

“Our railroad contributes quite a bit to the business economy of Fayetteville and its surrounding area because we serve many manufacturers and other industries,” says Brenda Rouse, Arkansas Missouri Railroad passenger train operations manager.

Rouse adds that in addition to the industrial side of business, the railroad operates a tourism excursion train whose stops include Fayetteville, Springdale and Rogers.

“A lot of people don't realize that tourism is one of the largest industries in Arkansas, and the A&M excursion line is a contributor,” she says. “The train goes through the Ozark Mountains, with about 14,000 passengers riding the line each year.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years.