Grant money to fund over 3 miles of trail lighting in Fayetteville

Mud Creek Trail / Staff photo

One of Fayetteville’s oldest trails will soon have lighting thanks to a grant from the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.

The 13-year-old Mud Creek Trail, which stretches 2.3 miles west from Old Missouri Road to Scull Creek Trail, will receive lights as part of a $500,000 award from the state’s Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).

As one of the first trails constructed in the city, Mud Creek Trail includes many trailside business destinations, including a Core Brewing Pub, Academy Sports, and the 24-hour Walmart Supercenter on Mall Avenue. Mihalevich said the inclusion of trail lighting will provide a safe and accessible way for employees and customers to access those business from the trail during all hours.

Mud Creek Trail also serves a large residential population who use the trail regularly. A recent count showed an average of 365 trail users per day during March and April 2016 with a peak of over 2,000 users on April 1, according to a staff memo.

Additionally, two major apartment buildings – Uptown Apartments and Watermark at Steele Crossing – are under construction adjacent to Mud Creek Trail that will add an estimated 615 units or 1,200 new residents to the area.

The TAP program provides funding projects defined as “transportation alternatives” for bicyclists, pedestrians, and other non-motorized forms of transportation. The reimbursement-type program provides for an 80 percent federal share and a 20 percent local match as part of the federal Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).

The grant money will also fund the installation of lights along a one-mile section of Scull Creek Trail – which doubles as the Razorback Greenway – from the Fulbright Expressway tunnel north to the Fayetteville-Johnson city limit. The project includes a total of 181 LED lights which will match existing fixtures on the city’s trail system.

Matt Mihalevich, the city’s trails coordinator, said some TAP funds are set aside for the state’s Recreational Trails Program (RTP) that allows for a variety of uses, including maintenance and restoration of existing trails.

According to Mihalevich, the plan is to use a $56,000 award to replace about 670 feet of deteriorating asphalt just north of West Maple Street on the Frisco Trail section of the Razorback Greenway. The trail replacement will include full depth excavation to solid ground with select fill to provide a stable foundation for the new 12-foot wide concrete surface.

Mihalevich said the city’s 20 percent match is $139,000 and has been budgeted through the trail development fund.

Both projects are expected to be completed by summer 2017.