Featured in IQ: 2011 Volume 3 Issue 2
Mount Comfort Road, a minor arterial street in Fayetteville, Ark., now provides a smoother, less congested commute to nearby Interstate 540. Originally a two-lane road without curb and gutter, a widening project expanded the road to four lanes and incorporated sidewalks, bike lanes, drainage upgrades, turning lanes and intersection realignments.
"This project creates an improved link between rapidly developing residential areas and I-540, and it provides a better level of service to two public schools located just off Mount Comfort Road," said Fayetteville City Engineer Chris Brown, PE. "Adding sidewalks and bike lanes makes Mount Comfort a 'complete street' that will serve our residents for years to come."
The project is part of a $65.9 million transportation bond and capital improvement program approved by Fayetteville voters. The $10.5 million project, the largest undertaking in the program, widened 1.5 miles of Mount Comfort Road, relocated a frontage road, widened an interstate exit ramp and installed traffic control signals.
An essential element in helping traffic flow better involved improvements to Mount Comfort Road's connection with I-540, which meant redesigning the way multiple legs of traffic interact. This required widening the I-540 off-ramp, relocating the frontage road to provide additional separation with the I-540 ramps, and moving Deane Solomon Road to intersect with a secondary street.
"It's a really congested area," said Garver transportation engineer Nathan Becknell, PE. "Relocating those intersections helped spread out the traffic and keep vehicles moving."
During the construction phase, Garver initiated steps to recycle and reuse waste material to save the city money.
"Our field services and inspection team worked with the contractor to recycle the milled asphalt and reuse excavated material as fill for a future street project adjacent to the site," said Garver Project Manager Ron Petrie, PE. "Rather than hauling and disposing it off site, we realized that we had a better use for it."
This included utilizing approximately 5,000 cubic yards of excavated soil in collaboration with future plans to extend connecting street Rupple Road.
In addition, a field change during construction further advanced a city-wide endeavor to help citizens develop healthy living habits.
"Fayetteville was named a bicycle-friendly community in 2010 by the League of American Bicyclists," explained Becknell. "Adding bike lanes to the project was an important element. Because we'd built flexibility into our design, a field change allowed the contractor to stripe Mount Comfort Road with a mile-long, 5-foot-wide bike lane on each side of the road." The bike lane is expected to connect with future trails identified in the Fayetteville Trails Master Plan.