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January 16, 2018

Route OK’d for parkway extension

Route OK’d for parkway extension

SPRINGDALE — Residents near a western expansion of Don Tyson Parkway voiced concerns about drainage,…

SPRINGDALE — Residents near a western expansion of Don Tyson Parkway voiced concerns about drainage, safety and noise along the route approved Tuesday night by the City Council.

The route would extend Don Tyson Parkway from 56th Street to South Maestri Road, also known as Arkansas 112. The council voted to accept the route presented by Engineering Services Inc.in Springdale.

Riki Stamps and James Childress both live in the Western Trails subdivision, which sits just south of the proposed road extension. Additionally, David Arthur, whose land lies immediately east came to speak against the route, which will bisect his property, eliminating outbuildings and a watering system recently installed.

“I will have a pasture on the north [of the road] and a pasture on the south,” Arthur said. “How am I supposed to get my tractor, my haying equipment, my cows across Don Tyson Parkway?”

Western Trails was designed as an equine community, with fenced horse trails surrounding the subdivision, Stamps told the council. “Children ride horses parallel to the road,” Stamps said. “What happens when the first driver thinks it’s funny to honk his horn and a child gets bucked off and lands in the highway or along the curb?”

James Childress pointed out drainage from the hill on which the extension would be built already floods the back section of his property, and he’s concerned about the runoff from a major road. He, Stamps and Arthur all added their enjoyment of their property would diminish by being able to see and hear the new roadway from their homes.

Two public input sessions were held in July and September to hear residents’ concerns over three proposed routes. Stamps said the majority of the people at the meetings preferred a different route farther from their neighborhoods.

“Considering public input, and after consulting with the engineers and our staff, we have determined this is the best and safest possible route for the road,” Mayor Doug Sprouse said. “Because everybody is going to travel on that road, not just the residents of the neighborhood.”

He said the route had been moved a bit since residents saw it to minimize impact on Western Trails. Sprouse said the city tried to reach out to Arthur through letters from the Engineering Department, but not gotten much of a response. He told Arthur in the meeting the city would continue talking with him about the route it would take through his property.

Tyson Parkway will meet Maestri directly east of Tontitown’s Kissinger Road because the Arkansas Department of Transportation will require it to line up with Kissinger for a possible traffic light, Sprouse continued.

The plan for the road is just in the “concept” stage, with engineering and design still to come, said Brian Moore with ESI. Barrier walls or fencing between the road and the residential property could be considered, he said.

No timetable for construction has been set, and the city doesn’t have the money to build the road, the mayor said. Through the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission, the city was awarded a Surface Transportation Block Grant Program grant of federal highway money for the design of the parkway extension. The grant total was $374,606, with the city paying 20 percent.

Construction of the parkway extension probably won’t begin for five or six years, Sprouse said.

But circumstances could change, he said. “Money that we don’t expect could become available, or development in the area could spur a shorter timeline.” The project isn’t among those planned if an upcoming bond extension is approved by voters.

The extension is necessary for the long-range “connectivity” of Springdale, which is important for the economic development of the city, Sprouse said. Springdale wouldn’t be the site of Arkansas Children’s Northwest and other related development, without the Interstate 49 interchange with Don Tyson Parkway, he listed as an example.

“When we started this as an east-west corridor through the city, people thought I was crazy to think Don Tyson Parkway would need to be extended on the west side of the interstate,” said Patsy Christie, director of the city’s planning department. “They said nobody would ever use it. But how would this city be growing if we didn’t have it? It moves a whole lot of people, thousands, through the city. It opens a whole lot of opportunity for the city to 112. It finishes what we started.”

The Arkansas Department of Transportation plans to widen Arkansas 112 to five lanes, but no money for the project has been authorized, and, thus, the project isn’t on the calendar, according to Danny Strassle, public information officer for the department.

Depending on location along the highway, 8,200 to 10,000 cars travel along the road from the intersection with Interstate 49 at the south and U.S. 412 on the north. Strassle explained the area near the Interstate 49 intersection sees the most traffic, which falls to the least traffic at the Johnson limits. The stretch of the road near the U.S. 412 intersection sees about 9,400 cars a day, he continued, sharing the department’s annual traffic count survey from 2016

Laurinda Joenks can be reached by email at ljoenks@nwadg.com or on Twitter @NWALaurinda.

Proposed road extension.

Source: Route OK’d for parkway extension

Route OK’d for parkway extension


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