Several I-540 improvement projects set for review

Vehicles pass between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Wedington Drive on Interstate 540 in Fayetteville, a stretch that was widened from four to six lanes last year.

Photo: Todd Gill, Flyer staff

City officials will soon review a series of Interstate 540 widening and interchange projects set to take place in Fayetteville over the next few years.

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department plans to make major improvements to Interstate 540 in Northwest Arkansas thanks in part to a tax increase voters approved in November. The increase raised the sales tax from 6 percent to 6.5 percent to help fund $1.8 billion in highway work throughout the state.

Once complete, I-540 will include six lanes from south Fayetteville to Bentonville, and many of the interchanges will be upgraded to improve traffic flow onto and off of the interstate.

In Fayetteville, five separate projects are planned, totaling an estimated $144 million. The first project – widening I-540 from Wedington Drive to Porter Road – is scheduled to begin later this year. The remaining projects will begin in 2015 and are expected to be completed by 2018.

A brief summary of the projects and estimated costs is listed below:

ProjectBeginsCost Estimate
Widening (Wedington to Porter)2013$9.4 million
Interchange improvements (Hwy 62)2015$25.4 million
Interchange improvements (Wedington Drive)2015$19.3 million
Widening (Porter to Hwy 112), Interchange work (Hwy 112)2015$55 million
Widening (Hwy 112 to Hwy 412)2015$35 million

Chris Brown, city engineer, said as the timeline advances, residents and city officials will have the opportunity to provide input on various aspects of the design of the projects. For instance, he said a public meeting will be held in April or May to discuss the first two planned interchange projects at Hwy 62 and Wedington Drive.

Street Committee members will hear a more detailed presentation about the projects at their next meeting on Tuesday, March 26.