Traffic signal to provide relief at Old Wire and Mission

Chris Brown (right) city engineer, speaks Thursday with (from left); Matthew Petty, Ward 2 alderman and chair of the Transportation Committee; Bobby Ferrell, a resident and former Ward 3 alderman; Justin Tennant, Ward 3 alderman and Transportation Committee member; Gary Gray, husband of Adella Gray; Mayor Lioneld Jordan; and Adella Gray, Ward 1 alderwoman and Transportation Committee member. The group toured the intersection at Old Wire Road and Mission Boulevard to discuss plans for a new traffic signal.

Photo: Todd Gill, Flyer staff

A planned traffic signal could provide relief for drivers who navigate the tricky intersection at Old Wire Road and Mission Boulevard in east Fayetteville.

The intersection can be confusing at peak times, especially when limited visibility leads to poor decision making.

“I’ve seen four or five accidents just in the last six months,” said Justin Tennant, a Ward 3 alderman who represents northeast Fayetteville, including the neighborhoods surrounding the intersection.

Tennant was one of several council members who visited the area last week as part of a Transportation Committee tour, along with Mayor Lioneld Jordan and several city staff members.

Tennant said problems begin when drivers headed south on Old Wire Road don’t yield when merging west onto Mission Boulevard, which doubles as Arkansas Highway 45. Things get worse, he said, when drivers dart into traffic when turning left onto Mission from Old Wire.

Imagery from Bing Maps

City Engineer Chris Brown said initial construction costs were estimated at $500,000 in 2011, but that figure more than doubled to about $1.2 million after the Arkansas Highway Department designed the project.

Highway Department plans called for expanding Mission Boulevard to four lanes leading up to the intersection, and building a 10-foot retaining wall on the north side of the street where a new sidewalk is planned. Those plans, Brown said, would require tearing down a house at 1400 Mission Boulevard.

Brown said the Transportation Committee could accept the plans or instead ask the Highway Department to scale back the project a bit.

Committee members agreed that four lanes on Mission was overkill, and told Brown to send the project back to the state for revisions.

Brown said reducing the project to two lanes with a left-turn on Mission should cut construction costs in half, mostly because the city wouldn’t need to acquire nearly as much property. Removing the retaining wall would also help reduce the price tag, he said.

Work on the project, which is the first step in a larger plan to widen Old Wire Road, should begin by late 2014 or early 2015.