The Hot Springs Bypass Extension project resulted after a study by the Arkansas Highway Commission determined that improving or expanding Highway 7 through downtown Hot Springs was not an option. Currently, scenic Highway 7 travels directly through Hot Springs National Park, which makes up 5,550 acres and has 8 historic bathhouses, hiking trails, campgrounds, a visitors’ center, and much more. This alternative bypass would reduce traffic congestion through the downtown area and cut travel time between Hot Springs Village and the city of Hot Springs by more than half.
Funded by Connecting Arkansas Program and a Garland County Bond Issue
This $75 million project is funded in part by the Connecting Arkansas Program and a Garland County bond issue which was approved by voters in 2016. The 5.82 miles path connects the intersection of Highways 5 and 7 on the north end, to exit 6 on Highway 70 East on the south end. Overpasses will be located at Covenant Trail Rd., Mill Creek Rd., Denise Ln., and Quarry Mountain Rd. The north end of the extension will tie into a two-lane roundabout large enough to accommodate a tractor trailer. The roundabout project, scheduled to be completed in late 2023, will also widen 4.17 miles of Park Ave.
Bypass Officially Designated a Scenic Highway
The bypass meanders through the beautiful Ouachita Mountains and has been officially designated a scenic highway in 2021 by Act 675 from the Arkansas Legislature. It will facilitate access to retail and services in the city of Hot Springs for residents of Hot Springs Village, Jessieville, Fountain Lake, and surrounding areas, all while leaving the tourists and pedestrians in the historic downtown with a better and safer experience with less traffic congestion. Currently, Highway 128 provides a quick route to retail centers and other services in Saline County. Officials believe that this bypass project might help keep that spending, and the tax dollars and jobs that come with it, in Garland County. Originally scheduled for completion by August 2022, the project is currently ahead of schedule and could open for the summer season of 2022.
Development Opportunities in Hot Springs
Kelley Commercial Partners has a unique redevelopment opportunity available just northeast of the roundabout. A ±2.24 acres lot with two buildings is offered for sale. The property has 411 feet of frontage on Highway 5/Park Ave. and is ideally suited for a convenience store or similar development. An additional ±9.16 acres of level land with 340 feet frontage are for sale on Highway 7 in Hot Springs Village across from Walmart Supercentre. For more information about these listings, visit our properties page.