Fayetteville eyes improvements to Fulbright Expressway trail tunnel

The Fulbright Expressway trail tunnel is a converted box culvert that serves as part of the Razorback Greenway.

Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

Update: The council voted unanimously to apply for this grant during the April 3 meeting.

Trips through the Fulbright Expressway trail tunnel could become a lot less messy.

Fayetteville City Council members this week will vote on whether to apply for a federal aid grant to help fund improvements to the 685-foot converted culvert tunnel that passes under Futrall Drive, Shiloh Drive and the Fulbright Expressway.

The lighted tunnel is part of the Razorback Greenway but was not built for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. The passageway is actually a concrete box culvert originally designed to manage stream flow of Scull Creek. The culvert was converted for trail traffic in 2008, but still includes the original flooring which receives and transfers water from seep holes on the east side of the structure. As a result, the tunnel is constantly wet.

Matt Mihalevich, the city’s trails coordinator, said staff have designed a new elevated concrete floor that can be placed through the entire length of the culvert to create a dry and safer experience when walking, jogging or riding through the tunnel.

The new floor would include a side channel to carry the seeping water along the east edge of the culvert to a storm drain on the north side where it will be routed to Scull Creek.

Mihalevich said the project is expected to cost about $110,000. If approved, Mihalevich said the grant would provide $88,000 from the Arkansas Department of Transportation’s Recreational Trails Program to put toward the new floor as well as a new paint job that is expected to brighten the tunnel a bit.

The program, which requires a 20 percent local match, has funded 10 trail projects worth $582,381 in Fayetteville since 1997.

Mihalevich said grant announcements would come later this summer, and if everything goes as planned, construction could be underway by mid-2019.

Fulbright Expressway trail tunnel improvements proposal

More photos