Environmental

To effectively and efficiently provide interdisciplinary support and assistance to ensure compliance with environmental laws, regulations, and policies in the planning, construction, and operation of a safe, efficient, and environmentally sensitive intermodal transportation system. 

Springdale Northern Bypass (Highway 412)

This website provides information to the public concerning environmental studies on the Springdale Northern Bypass.  Please click on the links below to go straight to the information you wish to review.

The Project Overview provides the basic background of the proposed project.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in cooperation with the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT), has conducted a comprehensive environmental study and prepared the necessary environmental documentation for the proposed Highway 412 bypass in Benton and Washington Counties, Arkansas.  The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U. S. Army Corp of Engineers Little Rock District were cooperating agencies in the preparation of the environmental documentation.

This bypass is proposed to be a four-lane, divided, fully controlled access (Interstate type) facility constructed on new alignment with interchanges at selected locations. It would include two 12-foot travel lanes in each direction separated by a variable width median. 

The project is known as the Springdale Northern Bypass.  The Selected Alignment Alternative begins at an interchange with existing Highway 412 west of Tontitown where the highway presently changes from four to five lanes and will end with an interchange on existing Highway 412 just west of Beaver Lake.  Communities in and around the study area include Springdale, Tontitown, Elm Springs, Bethel Heights, Lowell, Sonora, Rogers, Bentonville, Fayetteville, and Cave Springs.

Highway 412 is part of a Congressionally designated High Priority Corridor (HPC) running east and west across northern Arkansas. 

The Project History presents a short summary of the work completed on the project.

A Major Investment Study (MIS) was initiated in 1996 within the urbanized area of northwest Arkansas to evaluate the various concepts available to alleviate existing traffic congestions on Highway 412.  A working group was developed to consider several construction and non-construction strategies to implement an improved transportation system.  This group ultimately concluded that a new location alignment north of Springdale best met the overall project purpose and need as developed by the working group, as well as numerous local objectives.  This conclusion was adopted by the local Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Committee.

An Environmental Impact Study (EIS) to determine the location of the proposed bypass began in 1998 with a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).  This DEIS studied four new location alignments along with the No-Action Alternative and improvements along the existing highway corridor.  The ARDOT and the FHWA completed the DEIS in January 2002.

DEIS Location Public Hearings were held in April 2002 to display DEIS study information and maps of the alignments, and to receive comments on the DEIS.  Comments received at the public hearing suggested two additional alignments for consideration that were not documented in the DEIS.  These additions were a “split interchange” alignment that uses an existing segment of I-540 as a part of the proposed bypass, and a “northern” alignment. 

The split interchange concept was not considered feasible by FHWA. However, a decision was made to prepare a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) to evaluate the “northern” alignment. Four alignments were studied and compared within the center portion of the proposed project.  The SDEIS was finalized in May of 2004 and SDEIS Location Public Hearings were held in June 2004.

The ARDOT and FHWA evaluated the alignments in the SDEIS for social, economic and environmental impacts, traffic analysis, and conceptual design. This information was used in the decision making process along with the comments received from resource agencies, public officials, and the public for the identification of Line 5 as the Preferred Line through Segment B-E. The Preferred Segments previously established and shown at the SDEIS Location Public Hearings within Segments A-B and E-F were also confirmed to carry forward into the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).

Revisions to Preferred Segment A-B were made in the western interchange with existing Highway 412 as a result of comments made at the DEIS Location Public Hearings, and to the alignment south of Brush Creek Road because of electrical transmission lines. Comments received at a public meeting held in September 2004 indicated that most residents were in favor of these proposed revisions, which were then adopted and analyzed in the FEIS as a part of the Preferred Line.

An in-depth analysis of the Preferred Line was conducted by ARDOT in cooperation with the FHWA and the results of this analysis are also documented in the FEIS issued October 6, 2005.

After a review of the FEIS and the comments received, the FHWA issued a Record of Decision on February 15, 2006 that approved a Selected Alignment Alternative for the proposed bypass.  Click here to see a map of the Selected Alignment Alternative. Design Public Hearings were held in June 2008 to received public comment on the preliminary design of the project.

The Latest Project Update provides a summary of latest information.

Latest Project Update (May 2008)

After a review of the FEIS and the comments received, the FHWA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) on February 15, 2006 that approved a Selected Alignment Alternative for the proposed bypass. Based on environmental studies, agency coordination, the public input process, and in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the Preferred Line was identified as the Selected Alignment Alternative. Click here to see a map of the Selected Alignment Alternative.

Based upon consideration of all the social, economic, and environmental evaluations contained in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS), and FEIS, FHWA has determined the Selected Alternative (i.e., Alignment 5 Non-toll Funding Alternative) is the environmentally preferred alternative. This alignment provides the best transportation solution that minimizes harm to the environment to the maximum extent practicable while also sufficiently addressing the Purpose and Need for the action. While some of the other alternatives evaluated, such as travel demand management and transit alternatives, may have lesser impacts on certain environmental resources, those alternatives do not provide a sufficient solution to the region’s long-term transportation needs, and their selection would not be reasonable or prudent. The Selected Alignment Alternative also incorporates extensive measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate potential harm to the region’s natural and human environment. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has given a Lack of Objection rating to the proposed project as described in the SDEIS. The study for the proposed project evaluated impacts for Toll and Non-toll Funding Alternatives. Each alignment analyzed represented two funding alternatives with identical location, corresponding to a Toll and Non-toll (free) Funding Alternative. The Selected Alignment Alternative is the Non-toll Funding Alternative. In the future, if a decision is made that a toll facility is needed, environmental documentation will be prepared to address those additional impacts that could result from the construction and operation of a toll facility.

Preliminary design has been prepared for the entire length of the Selected Alternative and the Design Public Hearings were held in June 2008.  The Design Public Hearings and comment period provides the public an opportunity to view the preliminary design and provide input to the Department.  These comments will be reviewed and addressed in this project’s Design Reassessment.  A Design Reassessment is prepared when minor revisions are developed between the proposed project and impacts as described in the FEIS and the proposed project developed during preliminary design.

Meetings Scheduled will take you to information about the next meetings planned. 

Meetings for the public to review and comment on the proposed project design were held June 3 and 4, 2008.  These meetings were held to solicit comments on the design of the proposed Selected Alignment Alternative. 

No further meetings are anticipated for this project. However, any future meetings will be announced through the local news media, mail-outs of the project newsletter, and on this website.

Document Availability is a link to copies of documents containing information on the studies performed on the project.  You can also find information on how and where to obtain the latest studies.

February 15, 2006 – Record of Decision (ROD) 

The ROD is a very brief summary of the information used during the evaluation and the decision-making process for the environmental analysis on this proposed project. It includes information to address the comments received on the Final Environmental Impact Statement, and is the final decision-making document in the environmental process. The ROD is available in Adobe Acrobat form by clicking here (2.2 Mb).

October 6, 2005 – Final Environmental Impact Statement 

These sections of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Executive Summary with links below were derived from the FEIS approved October 6, 2005.  The FEIS contains an in-depth analysis of the Preferred Line (Line 5), as conducted by the ARDOT in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration.  The various sections of the FEIS are available in Adobe Acrobat form by clicking the links below.

Opening Section1.8 MB
Executive Summary1.9 MB
Section 1-Purpose & Need4.4 MB
Section 2-Alternatives12.1 MB
Section 3-Affected Environment23.4 MB
Section 4-Environmental Consequences8.5 MB
Section 5-Commitments0.6 MB
Section 6-Coordination & Public Involvement0.6 MB
Section 7-Comments & Response20.1 MB
Section 8-List of Preparers0.7 MB
Section 9-Distribution List of FEIS0.3 MB
Section 10-References0.3 MB
Appendix A-Coordination & Public Involvement8.7 MB
Appendix B-Cultural Resources Coordination5.6 MB
Appendix C-Purpose & Need2.2 MB
Appendix D-Level of Service Discussion1.8 MB
Appendix E-Pollution Prevention1.9 MB
Appendix F-Historic Properties in the Project Area4.6 MB
Appendix G-Farmland Coordination4.5 MB
Appendix H-Noise1.9 MB
Appendix I-Terrestrial & Aquatic Fauna2.2 MB
Appendix J-Conceptual Stage Relocation Statement & Inventory Record4.1 MB
Appendix K-I-540 Interchanges & Associated Modifications2.1 MB
Appendix L-Surface Water Quality Impacts2.2 MB
Appendix M-Environmental Justice2.1 MB
Appendix N-Cultural Resources Reading List2.1 MB
Appendix O-Cooperating Agency Coordination5.4 MB

June 7, 2004 – Executive Summary of the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement

This Executive Summary was derived from information in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) approved May 7, 2004.  The SDEIS is a compilation of extensive scientific and engineering information required for compliance with federal and state rules and regulations.  Four alignments within the center portion of the proposed project were studied and compared in the SDEIS.  The SDEIS Executive Summary is available in Adobe Acrobat form by clicking here (2.3 Mb).


January 31, 2002 – Executive Summary of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement

This Executive Summary was derived from information in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) approved January 31, 2002. The DEIS is a compilation of extensive scientific and engineering information required for compliance with federal and state rules and regulations.  The DEIS Executive Summary is available in Adobe Acrobat form by clicking here (2.4 Mb).

Record of Decision – 2/15/2006
The Final Environmental Impact Statement – 10/6/2005
Summary of the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement – 5/7/2004
Summary of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement – 1/31/2002

Where You Can Find the FEIS

The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) can be found at ARDOT offices near the project area.  Specific locations are listed below. 

ARDOT Resident Engineer’s Office
3526 N Highway 112
Fayetteville, AR 72704 
ARDOT Resident Engineer’s Office
3700 Highway 112
Bentonville, AR 72712

Copies of these documents or a summary may be obtained by contacting the ARDOT at: ARDOT Environmental Division
P. O. Box 2261
Little Rock, AR  72203
(501) 569-2281

springdalenorthernbypass@arkansashighways.com

The Maps has links to maps of the Selected Alignment Alternative, and tells where the most recent maps are available for viewing locally. 

Design Public Hearing Displays for the Selected Alignment Alternative-June 2008

The following maps were shown at the Design Public Hearing meetings held June 3 and 4, 2008.  These maps display the design proposed at that time.  You may view the maps by clicking below on the individual map that you wish to view.  Please note the file size of the display you wish to see, and be aware that if you don’t have a high-speed internet connection, you may not be able to download the larger exhibits.

The project area is shown on aerial photography that is overlain by the proposed design, and is divided into nine overlapping areas, or exhibits.  The Exhibit Locator Map should be used to determine which of the exhibits contains the area you wish to examine.  Two of the exhibits, 1A and 4A, illustrate interchange areas in greater detail. 

City/County Street Map of entire project area (1,400 KB)

Exhibit Locator Map (1,600 KB)

Exhibit 1-(9,800 KB)

Exhibit 2-(10,400 KB)

Exhibit 3-(9,500 KB)

Exhibit 4-(11,200 KB)

Exhibit 5-(10,300 KB)

Exhibit 6-(10,400 KB)

Exhibit 7-(10,600 KB)

Exhibit 1A-Western Hwy 412 Interchange Layout (9,300 KB)

Exhibit 4A-I-540 Interchange Layout (11,600 KB)

The Selected Alignment Alternative map and preliminary design are available for viewing at the local ARDOT Resident Engineers’ offices listed below.

ARDOT Resident Engineer’s Office
3526 North Highway 112 
Fayetteville, AR  

ARDOT Resident Engineer’s Office
3700 Highway 112
Bentonville, AR

What’s Next presents an overview of future actions.

What’s Next For This Project?  

Preliminary design has been prepared for the entire length of the Selected Alignment Alternative.  The Design Public Hearing and comment period provides the public an opportunity to view the preliminary design and provide input to the Department.  These comments, due by June 19, 2008, will be reviewed and addressed in this project’s Design Reassessment.  A Design Reassessment is prepared when minor revisions are developed between the proposed project and impacts as described in the FEIS and the proposed project developed during preliminary design.

Once comments are addressed and the Cultural Resources survey and final design plans are completed, right of way acquisition and the construction phases of the project can then proceed as funds become available. Some funding for the project is included in the Statewide Transportation Implementation Plan and will be available to begin right of way acquisition.  At this time, there is no construction schedule for the proposed Springdale Northern Bypass.

A Phase I Cultural Resources survey of the Selected Alignment Alternative is expected to begin this year.  Cultural Resources include a wide variety of site types ranging from historic (those resources that are at least 50 years old) structures such as houses, barns, bridges, rock walls, etc., to historic and prehistoric archeological sites.  This survey will be conducted to find any previously unidentified cultural resources within a corridor that extends approximately 1000 feet from the conceptual centerline of the Selected Alignment Alternative.  Local landowners will be contacted for permission to access their property by the archeological firm performing this work.  It would be beneficial to inform the archeologists of known historic or archeological sites in the area. 

The Phase I survey typically consists of visually inspecting the prospective right of way and using shovels to dig test holes on a grid spaced from 15 to 100 feet apart and approximately 12 inches wide by 16 inches deep.  The material from the test holes is examined for evidence of archeological sites and then the holes are backfilled.  The evaluation of any sites located will continue with a more intensive investigation during a future Phase II survey. 

For more information tells how to contact us with questions or comments and how to get registered on the project mailing list.

For More Information Concerning This Project 

Displays showing the Selected Alignment Alternative are available for viewing at two ARDOT offices near the project area. The Washington County Resident Engineer’s office is located at 3526 North Highway 112 near Fayetteville [telephone number (479) 251-9266].  The Benton County Resident Engineer’s office is located on Highway 112, three miles north of Cave Springs [telephone number (479) 273-7634]. 

If you would like to send us a comment or have your name added to the project mailing list, click here, or contact the Environmental Division, Arkansas Department of Transportation, P. O. Box 2261, Little Rock, AR  72203, call (501) 569-2281, or by e-mail

If your name is on the mailing list, you will be sent copies of future newsletters and notification of upcoming public meetings.  Newsletters and meeting notifications are available by e-mail.  If you prefer to receive e-mail rather than regular postal service, please let us know.