Improvements coming to trail tunnel under Fulbright Expressway

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

Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

Riding or jogging through a popular trail tunnel will soon become a lot less messy.

With federal grant money now in place, Fayetteville officials hope to move forward on a plan to improve 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.

City Council members next month will consider an agreement of understanding with the Arkansas Department of Transportation for the work, which is expected to cost the city about $22,000. The city was awarded $88,000 from the department through the Recreational Trails Program to put toward the overall cost. The program, which requires a 20 percent local match, has now funded 11 trail projects worth over $670,000 in Fayetteville since 1997.

Fulbright Expressway trail tunnel improvements proposal

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Projects funded by Recreational Trails Program grants since 1997

1997Trailhead kiosks at Lake Fayetteville$20,000
2002Lake Fayetteville spillway bridge (1 of 2)$51,247
2003Lake Fayetteville spillway bridge (2 of 2)$20,000
2007Mud Creek Trail bridge by Front Street$33,600
2008Mud Creek Trail extension to Old Missouri Road$60,000
2009Oak Ridge Trail construction$116,534
2010Lake Fayetteville Trail (Botanical Garden to Veterans Park)$80,000
2012Lake Fayetteville Trail (roadside by marina)$75,000
2015Lake Fayetteville Trail (nature trail boardwalk)$70,000
2016Frisco Trail repair (Frisco Avenue to Maple Street)$56,000
2018Fulbright Expressway Tunnel improvements$88,000
Total $670,381