City plans for redesign of trail across Lake Fayetteville dam

Photo: City of Fayetteville

The most popular trail section in Fayetteville is getting a complete redesign.

City Council members this month will consider applying for a grant from the Arkansas Department of Transportation to replace a portion of the Razorback Greenway that runs across the Lake Fayetteville dam.

The 16-year-old asphalt surface is in poor condition, with visible cracks, bumps and chipped edges along the one-third mile stretch between the lake marina and the spillway bridge.

Usage counts show that it is the highest used trail segment in the Fayetteville system, said Matt Mihalevich, the city’s trails coordinator. Data collected in spring 2019 showed an average of 1,376 users per day or 41,280 users per month. An intercept survey from the same period showed that 43% of users were on a bicycle, 40% were walking and 13% were running.

The proposed improvements include widening the 12-foot path to 16 feet and dividing it into two surface areas to accommodate a variety of users. One side would include an 8-foot concrete path dedicated for two-way bike traffic, and the other would be an 8-foot rubberized track surface for walkers and runners.

Proposed trail design / City of Fayetteville

Council Member Matthew Petty, who also serves as chair of the council’s Transportation Committee said he likes the idea of providing an alternate surface type for runners, although he’s a bit skeptical of using a rubber material.

Petty said although rubber is a fast surface, it might not be as forgiving as other materials, such as decomposed granite if the intention is to provide a gentler impact.

“That said, I’m really glad we’re doing something like this,” said Petty. “If we do install a rubber surface, I hope we can keep track of how well it stacks up against our expectations because I know there are a lot of other places in our trail system where runners would appreciate having a softer surface.”

If the $440,000 grant is approved and fully funded, it would require a 20% match from the city. The overall project cost is $550,000, and the city’s $110,000 share has already been budgeted through the trail development CIP program, Mihalevich said.

The council will consider the grant application at the next regular meeting on April 21.