Construction set to begin on Garland Avenue widening project

Traffic passes along Garland Avenue north of Harps Foods.

Photo: Todd Gill, Flyer staff

With preliminary work now complete, construction is set to soon begin on the Garland Avenue widening project.

Crews began working in May to prepare the area by adding new water and sewer mains, fire hydrants and service connections for all structures along the length of the work zone from Harps Foods to Janice Avenue.

Map: Todd Gill

Construction barrels now line the west side of Garland Avenue where much of the widening will take place.

As part of the project, Mt. Comfort Road will be realigned to connect with Garland across from Holly Street, eliminating the awkward angled intersection near Harps.

New traffic signals will be installed at Deane, Sycamore and Holly streets.

The state and city are splitting the cost of the $6.7 million widening of the road, which doubles as Arkansas Highway 112.

The work is one of several road projects included in the $65 million Transportation Improvement Bond Program voters approved in 2006.

The state originally proposed a five-lane road with a continuous center turn lane similar to North College Avenue. Residents and city heads spent the next several years pressing state officials for a modified plan they believed would be a better fit for Fayetteville.

Mayor Lioneld Jordan and Ward 2 Alderman Matthew Petty held a public meeting in July 2009 to discuss ways residents could help pressure state officials into changing their plan, which included collecting input and comments using an online survey.

“What we want is something iconic,” said Petty. “Garland Avenue is as an entrance to our city and the University of Arkansas, and it deserves more than just a standard highway configuration.”

“I’ve never wanted a five lane road,” said Jordan. “I just don’t think they’re very safe.”

An agreement was eventually reached and once construction is complete, the stretch will include four lanes with a tree-lined median, new sidewalks and five-foot bike lanes on each side of the road.

The project is expected to be completed in spring 2014.