PHOTOS: Now open: Meadow Valley Trail

Meadow Valley Trail runs east from Porter Road near the I-540 overpass to Scull Creek Trail.

Photos: Todd Gill, Flyer staff

Construction is finally complete on Meadow Valley Trail, one of the most highly anticipated trail connections in Fayetteville.

The 2.3-mile trail runs west from Scull Creek Trail to Porter Road near the Interstate 540 interchange, providing a link between the backbone of the city’s trail system and the neighborhoods to the west of I-540.

Meadow Valley Trail map

Source: City of Fayetteville

Trails coordinator Matt Mihalevich said an official ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held sometime in early August, but for now, the trail is fully complete and ready for use.

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.

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.

» Click for more tunnel photos

Photo: Todd Gill

We rode on the trail Tuesday morning and the only thing we saw that had yet to be installed were the two rest area benches planned at the intersection of Scull Creek Trail. Wayfinding signage, mile markers and other signs are already in place.

Once state permits are approved, crews will begin construction of bike lanes an on-street trail along Porter Road which will connect Meadow Valley Trail to the existing bike lanes on Mount Comfort Road.

Here are a few photos we took while riding west from the Scull Creek Trail intersection. The route takes trail users past the University of Arkansas farm trails, the UA’s Agri Park, underneath Garland Avenue, past the Washington County Fairgrounds and the Arkansas Music Pavilion and ends at Porter Road near the I-540 interchange.