Almost $49 Million in Federal Funds Coming for Two Arkansas Infrastructure Projects

Almost $49 Million in Federal Funds Coming for Two Arkansas Infrastructure Projects

Fleet Feet Little Rock

The Biden-Harris Administration has awarded more than $2.2 billion from the RAISE discretionary grant program to 162 different infrastructure projects across the country. The announcement was made on Wednesday by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg in South Carolina.

The RAISE program supports innovative, transformational, and sustainable infrastructure projects that improve safety, accessibility, and economic opportunity. The projects that were awarded funding today represent a wide range of transportation modes, including roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports, and intermodal transportation.

In 2022, Conway, Arkansas was awarded almost $25 million for a Greenway Trail project through the RAISE Grant Program.

2023 Arkansas projects that were funded include:

  • A $25 million grant to reconstruct Highway 5, installing a shared-use path, continuous sidewalks, and more in Bryant, Arkansas.
  • An almost $24 million grant to develop around 13 miles of active transportation infrastructure, which will comprise 10-foot multi-use trails and 10-foot side paths in Russellville, Arkansas.

Unfortunately, Pulaski County’s application for a portion of the Southwest Trail did not result in the awarding of a grant.

Old Stagecoach Road Complete Streets Connector

The Bryant plan involves the reconstruction of approximately 3.6 miles of Old Stagecoach Road (also known as Highway 5), the installation of a shared-use path, the construction of continuous sidewalks, upgrading storm drainage, and carrying out necessary utility work.

Map of RAISE project in Bryant, AR.
Map of RAISE project in Bryant, AR.

The project prioritizes safety, quality of life, mobility, community connectivity, economic competitiveness, and opportunity, state of good repair, partnership and collaboration, and innovation. By introducing new sidewalks and shared-use paths, commuters and other users will have active transportation options within the project area, promoting public health and reducing the crash rate in the underserved community of Bryant to below the statewide average. The Arkansas DOT is working closely with diverse communities to incorporate complete streets improvements, following USDOT’s Promising Practices for Meaningful Public Involvement with Transportation Decision-Making Guide. Additionally, the roadway improvements will alleviate traffic from I-30 during peak congestion.

See also  New Elevated Bridge Opens for Cyclists & Pedestrians

City of Bryant Community Development Director, Truett Smith, said, “The Arkansas Department of Transportation did the heavy lifting on this grant.” Since it is on a state highway, ARDOT will be doing all design and construction work that is involved with Highway 5. One side of the highway will have a shared-use trail while the other has sidewalks. These will connect with the current bike/ped infrastructure on Highway 5. Smith also mentioned that it will connect with the Bryant Parkway, a bike/ped corridor that connects north and south Bryant, and will eventually be attached to the Southwest Trail helping to create an extensive alternative transportation grid.

A large part of this funding is going to more car/truck infrastructure as it involves, “Curb and gutter replacement and installation, reconstruction and resurfacing of existing roadways, and an additional travel lane (each way) and a center two-way left turn lane,” according to the ARDOT project map.

Russellville Connected Trail System

The project aims to develop around 13 miles of new active transportation infrastructure, which will comprise of 10-foot multi-use trails and 10-foot side paths. The project focuses on various areas such as safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, mobility, and community connectivity, as well as the state of good repair.

NWACC - Trail Tech
Map of proposed bike/ped infrastructure in Russellville.
Map of proposed bike/ped infrastructure in Russellville.

Russellville Planner, Victoria Marchant said, “The system will connect schools, parks, downtown shopping, and medical facilities creating transportation options for the people of Russellville.”

To enhance safety, the project will construct dedicated infrastructure for bicycles and pedestrians, and use underpasses and flashing beacons. The enhanced trail networks are expected to decrease reliance on vehicles, reducing vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging alternative modes of transportation. Additionally, the project will improve access to employment, education, shopping, and recreational activities, and provide active transportation options to boost public health. The project will also upgrade user-activated rectangular rapid flashing beacons and high-intensity activated crosswalks.

Russellville City Engineer, Glenn Newman said, “The project will take 3 to 7 years. There will be tunnels under roads and a bike/pedestrian bridge over I-40. It will take time to put those into place.”

As the planning and construction proceed, the responsibility of overseeing the grants will be taken up by the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

All Sports Productions Ad

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *