Proposed roundabout and interchange improvements planned for Van Buren

Ty Thompson
Press Argus-Courier

A virtual public meeting was held on April 4 to discuss the upcoming proposed construction on Highway 59 and Interstate 40 in Van Buren.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation will be constructing interchange improvements on Interstate 40 and Highway 59 along with a roundabout on the eastbound service road.

The improvement to the interchange will be focusing on reducing congestion where the highway meets the interstate. A large portion of the improvements will focus on the access road that runs perpendicular to the interstate. 

On the interstate, ARDOT will tie Elfen Glen Street in with the access road which will include a roundabout. The roundabout will allow for the option to return to the access road, access a new entrance lane to the interstate whether you are heading east or west, or enter Elfen Glen Street. 

From Highway 59 to the interstate, the current exit ramp will be eliminated and a new access road will be utilized with a new exit ramp to provide access from the intersection. 

ARDOT will also add additional right and left-turn lanes on westbound Interstate 40. Currently, there is only one turn lane for both directions.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation is proposing a roundabout and interchange improvements on the intersection of Highway 59 and Interstate 40.

“With our proposed improvements you will have to right turn lanes and two left-turn lanes,” said John Canterbury of Garver Engineering. “No real movement is going to change.” 

The meeting was opened for questions from the public. Patrick Sanford asked a question regarding the clearance for traffic with large trucks that are common on the interstate. 

According to Canterbury, the project has been designed to accommodate these large vehicles, and the width of the streets themselves should not bring up any issues. 

A privately submitted question noted the existing truck terminal will be negatively impacted by the proposed roundabout. Southeastern Freight Lines inc. has a proposed expansion, and according to the comment, ARDOT’s improvements will make the expansion impossible. The question asked if there are any alternatives that could be considered. 

Canterbury said there were multiple alternatives considered but due to performance and constraints, the current model was the most desirable to meet the purpose and need of the project. 

“There will be some additional traffic on the access road, but there will also be additional turn lanes at the intersection to facilitate these additional movements.” 

According to ARDOT’s website, the construction will cost $10 to $15 million. Since the project is still currently in the planning phase there has not been a set date for the construction.