Officials break ground on city’s first modern roundabout

Mayor Lioneld Jordan speaks during the roundabout groundbreaking ceremony held Tuesday morning in north Fayetteville.

Photos: Todd Gill, Flyer staff

The first of three planned projects designed to address traffic problems in north Fayetteville began this week.

Several city officials and other involved parties officially broke ground on Fayetteville’s first modern roundabout during a ceremony held near the main entrance of Washington Regional Medical Center Tuesday morning.

The long-planned project will eliminate the four-way stop at the intersection of Futrall Drive and Northhills Boulevard. The area, located just north of the hospital, sees heavy traffic flow during peak hours when vehicles begin entering and exiting Fulbright Expressway.

A roundabout, officials say, is the safest way to relieve traffic congestion while improving access to the hospital and surrounding area.

Source: City of Fayetteville

“According to the Federal Highway Administration, the primary characteristics of a modern roundabout reduce many of the safety hazards of traditional intersections,” said Mayor Lioneld Jordan during the ceremony.

Citing federal traffic study data, Jordan said roundabouts have 90 percent fewer fatalities, 76 percent less injuries and see a 35 percent reduction in all crashes when compared to typical intersections.

“The only movement at an entry and exit of a roundabout is a right turn,” said Jordan, “thus reducing the potential frequency and severity of accidents.”

City Council members Adella Gray, Justin Tennant and Bobby Ferrell said they were happy to see construction finally begin.

“We talk a lot about downtown Fayetteville projects, and rightfully so,” said Tennant. “Downtown is the cultural heartbeat of our city, but when you talk about the economic engine that drives this city, that’s right here.”

Gray said she was most excited about the mechanics of the project. “I’ve always tried to avoid this intersection when I could, but I won’t need to avoid it anymore,” she said.

Eighty percent of the costs for the $3 million roundabout will come from a 2006 federal earmark appropriation for the Fayetteville Expressway Economic Development Corridor. The remaining 20 percent will be paid for using funds from the city’s Transportation Bond Program.

“Today is a great day for Fayeteville,” said Ferrell, who also serves as chairman of the council’s Street Committee, “but there’s much more to come.”

The two other planned projects for the economic development corridor include a flyover connecting northbound College Avenue traffic to the westbound lanes of the Fulbright Expressway and an extension and widening project on Van Asche Drive between Gregg and Garland avenues.

Construction on the roundabout will begin this month and is set to be complete in six to eight months.

Fayetteville Expressway Economic Development Corridor

The goal of this project is to improve accessibility to the developing land surrounding the Fulbright Expressway, Interstate 540, and College Avenue from Millsap Street to Zion Road, including the Northwest Arkansas Mall, Steele Crossing/CMN Business Park Area, Washington Regional Medical Center and adjacent medical offices.

This project has been identified as a High Priority Project under the Federal Highway Bill known as SAFETEA-LU, and the City expects to receive approximately $7.66 million in federal funding. The City must provide matching funds in the amount of 20%, or $1.91 million, making the total funds available for the project $9.57 million.

» View the 2006 FEEDC study

Source: City of Fayetteville

More photos

Groundbreaking ceremony

Ward 3 Alderman Justin Tennant

Ward 1 Alderwoman Adella Gray

Ward 3 Alderman Bobby Ferrell

Mayor Lioneld Jordan