Benton County, Arkansas seems to be experiencing rapid growth in the transportation industry in recent months. Plans are currently underway for the NWA Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan while talks of a commuter light rail in Northwest Arkansas have begun. Among other projects, these hint at a growing attempt to improve Benton County and nearby areas of Arkansas’ pedestrian accessibility and our transportation infrastructure as a whole.
Like the bike path and sidewalk projects, construction of the Bella Vista Bypass has also been announced. Officials say this will call for the road closure of Faux Road, or Benton County Highway 453, between Arkansas 72 and Deer Drive.
Yet another issue facing Arkansas officials is that of a rural ambulance service for those on the outskirts of the county. The story has made news in recent weeks because of one big question: how will Benton County pay for this service? No doubt it is important—addressing the issue of emergency response time for those who live far away from such services is vital to ensuring the safety of all of Benton County’s citizens. In this case, minutes can make a difference in determining whether a person lives or dies; residents of rural Benton County are no less deserving of a speedy response than their more centrally-located counterparts.
These projects and topics are noteworthy because it seems that Benton County is expanding in ways that will ultimately bring its residents closer together. Benton County isn’t the only area of our state experiencing growth: The Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce reported in June 2014 that the economy of the Northwest Arkansas MSA grew by 3.8% in 2013. From 2013 to 2020, it is projected to grow an average of 4.2% annually, ranking it as one of the top metropolitan areas of the nation. No doubt that the area’s economic uptick is directly related to these recent developments.
The more consideration given to Benton County transportation, the more likely safety methods and infrastructure will lead to a reduced number of traffic accidents and fatalities. Bailey & Oliver will continue to watch the trends in Benton County’s transportation industry. Hopefully, these changes will continue to have a positive impact on the area!