Trail tunnel improvements to begin 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

A long talked about plan to address drainage issues in a popular trail tunnel will soon come to fruition.

Construction is set to begin the first week in February on 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 floor is almost always wet.

Matt Mihalevich, the city’s trails coordinator, said staff have designed a sloped, elevated concrete floor 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 will include a side channel to carry the seeping water along the edge of the culvert to a storm drain where it will be routed to the creek. The tunnel’s interior walls will also be painted.

The City Council in 2019 approved 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.

Trail users should expect periodic closures during work hours.

Detour signs will route trail users around the tunnel along Swallow Circle and Gregg Avenue.

From the city:

Trail users should look for detour signs and use extreme caution when crossing Futrall and Shiloh Drives. Button-activated walk signals are located on signal poles adjacent to crosswalks. Warning signs will remind motorists, especially when turning, to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. Bicyclists are encouraged to dismount and walk bikes across the crosswalk to enjoy the legal protections of pedestrians. By state law, bicyclists riding through a crosswalk do not have the legal right of way. Police presence will be increased for the enforcement of the crosswalks in this area.

Barricades will be placed across the trail during times of active construction, but the trail will be open to the public at off-work times, according to a Mihalevich. Inclement weather and temperatures could delay the project schedule.

Fulbright Expressway trail tunnel improvements

More photos

Planned detour route