March 25, 2021

Southwest Trail project takes next step toward reality

Southwest Trail project takes next step toward reality

What will one day be one of the most unique recreational attractions across the region is now one step closer to reality. The Federal Highway Administration recently issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Garver-led Southwest Trail project, a multi-use path connecting Pulaski, Saline, and Garland counties in Central Arkansas.

The FONSI completed the more-than-year-long environmental assessment (EA) phase and clears the project for design. The project team will soon conduct design kickoff meetings with local jurisdictions to discuss alignment, schedules, and funding.

“This is a significant milestone in a significant project for central Arkansas,” said Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde. “Once the trail is constructed from Little Rock to Hot Springs, it will provide greater recreational opportunities for our local communities and attract visitors to our region, along with serving as an economic boost and highlighting some of our state’s most recognizable landmarks.”

For more than a year, Garver, which is also leading design, public involvement, surveying, and other services for the project, conducted an EA to analyze options for the trail route that will cover 60 miles through the three counties. The trail will be connected on one end by Little Rock Central High School, on the other by Hot Springs National Park, and include the Old River Bridge in Saline County in the middle.

During the EA, Garver’s team reviewed impacts to the public and the environment through input gathered at both in-person and virtual public meetings, and options were narrowed to a preferred alignment. The final EA was submitted to the Arkansas Department of Transportation and the FHWA for review, comment, and approval.

“It’s been a pleasure working with Pulaski, Saline, and Garland counties throughout this project so far, and we can’t wait to take the next big step,” said Garver Director of Federal Services Wallace Smith, PE. “For years, Garver has strived to provide our communities with the most unique amenities for walkers, runners, and bicyclists, and we know the Southwest Trail will truly be one of a kind.”

The Garver-led design is currently underway on three new trail bridges, along with design of the trail itself.

To learn more about what Garver’s Federal Services can do for you, visit our Federal Services page.