PHOTOS: Take an early look at the Meadow Valley Trail tunnel under Garland Avenue

A street-level view of the Meadow Valley Trail tunnel looking east across Garland Avenue.

Photos: Todd Gill, Flyer staff

Construction is nearly complete on Meadow Valley Trail, a highly anticipated connection that will link west Fayetteville to the backbone of the city’s trail system.

The 2.3-mile trail, which runs east-west from the Mt. Comfort Road bike lanes to Scull Creek Trail, is set to officially open in August.

» Click to enlarge Meadow Valley Trail map

Source: City of Fayetteville

One of the trail’s biggest highlights is a tunnel under Garland Avenue (Arkansas Highway 112) that measures 12 feet wide and 10 feet tall. The 270-foot tunnel stretches from Agri Park on the east side of Garland to the Pauline Whitaker Animal Science Arena on Knapp Drive near the entrance of the Washington County Fairgrounds.

This is the first tunnel built exclusively for the trail system. The handful of other trail tunnels in Fayetteville are storm drains that were adapted to allow for bike and pedestrian use.

While the trail isn’t officially open yet, construction of the tunnel is mostly complete and residents are welcome to walk through and check it out.

We grabbed some photos at dusk and dark last night, and followed up this morning with a few daylight shots from the inside, approaches, and entrances of the tunnel.

The tunnel’s lighting system stays on 24 hours a day, with the exception of the outermost energy-saving photocell units which automatically turn off during daylight hours.

Have a look: