Fayetteville government officials and the Arkansas Department of Transportation plan to expand Maple Street to a four-lane road from Garland Avenue to Razorback Road to improve traffic conditions along with other changes starting summer 2018, the associate vice chancellor of Facilities Management said.
By July 2018 workers will begin construction to expand Maple Street by two lanes, add an additional lane to Razorback Road and resurface the portion of Garland Avenue from Maple Street to Wedington Drive, said Mike Johnson, assistant vice chancellor of Facilities Management.
The project should be complete by August of 2019, Johnson said. The Arkansas Department of Transportation will contribute approximately $3-4 million to the projects and UA and Fayetteville officials will contribute approximately $300,000 each, Johnson said.
Traffic counts from the Arkansas Department of Transportation showed that extra lanes would reduce traffic congestion on Maple Street, said Jay Huneycutt, director of Planning and Design for Facilities Management.
“They’re trying to move this traffic as safely as possible,” Huneycutt said.
Between the Maple Street expansion and the renovation to the Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium Lot 44 will lose approximately 200 spots, Huneycutt said. When these projects are complete the lot will be repainted with 90 degree parking spots instead of 45 degree spots.
There will be approximately 570 parking spots left in Lot 44 after all of the improvements, Huneycutt said. These lots are open to faculty and staff only.
The portion UofA officials will contribute comes from the Arkansas General Improvement Fund, Huneycutt said.
Senior Kelyn Baker does not think that adding another lane will greatly reduce traffic if only that short stretch of Maple Street is changed, he said.
An additional lane might be helpful if it went a longer length of Maple Street, Baker said.
Baker thinks that construction on Maple Street during the fall football season would be very disruptive and might not be worth the benefit of the added lane, he said.
Workers will also resurface Razorback Road and add an additional lane on the west side between the Maple Street intersection and Leroy Pond Drive where Razorback Road becomes a four-lane road, Johnson said.
Officials plan to add a traffic light at the intersection of Razorback Road and Maple Street, Johnson said.
Arkansas Department of transportation officials plan to resurface Garland Avenue between Maple Street and Wedington Drive but the construction has not been scheduled yet, Johnson said.
Garland Avenue is part of Arkansas highway 112 and state officials think that it needs maintenance, Huneycutt said.
Fayetteville officials will look for a contractor for the three-part project during April, Johnson said.
The contractor must have experience working in an area with many pedestrians and cars and must meet the planned deadline without working during home football games this fall, Huneycutt said.
UA Facilities Management officials also plan to install a crosswalk on Arkansas Avenue during summer 2018, Johnson said.
There have not been any injuries from collisions on Arkansas Avenue, but officials made the crosswalk part of the Senior Walk expansion plan some time ago, partially because students and Associated Student Government members have requested an additional crosswalk on Arkansas Avenue for several years, Johnson said.
The crosswalk is a part of the plan to expand the Senior Walk on the east side of Arkansas Avenue, which will begin this summer, Johnson said. Workers finished construction on the Senior Walk on the west side of Arkansas Avenue in fall 2017.
The crosswalk will connect to the steps leading to Old Main, approximately in the middle of the three-block section of Arkansas Avenue between Dickson Street and Maple Street near the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house, Johnson said.
Sophomore Kamryn Floyd thinks a new crosswalk with lights is a good idea because crossing Arkansas Avenue can be unsafe, she said.
“I’ve almost been hit several times, even during the day,” Floyd said.
ASG senators passed a resolution in October requesting that a crosswalk be installed somewhere on Arkansas Avenue between Dickson Street and Maple Street.
Approximately 2,000 students live in apartments or Greek Life housing located across Arkansas Avenue and must cross the road regularly, according to the resolution.
The resolution states that it is illegal to cross the street at a place other than a crosswalk, but many students still do, which is dangerous, especially at night.