Conceptual plans released for Millsap Road intersection redesign at College Avenue

Vehicles turn left onto Millsap Road from College Avenue on Monday / Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

Changes big and small are in store for the area at the intersection at College Avenue and Millsap Road in north Fayetteville.

City Council members who serve on the council’s Transportation Committee last week got an early look at the conceptual plans for a redesign of the area. The plans show minor improvements like lane realignment work at the main intersection as well as some major alterations to the nearby traffic flow on Front Street.

The council in July approved a $300,000 contract with Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company for design of the project, which is funded by the bond issue that voters approved in April 2019.

Public Works Director Chris Brown said the project has two main parts, which include improving traffic flow at College and Millsap, and moving vehicles away from the awkward intersection where Front Street meets Millsap just east of College.

Plans for the main intersection include adding a second left-turn lane for drivers turning north onto College from Millsap. Brown said left-turn traffic is high in that area, especially in the afternoons. He said once Millsap has more capacity for northbound left turns, the north-south traffic on College Avenue should be able to handle longer green-light times which will improve flow in all directions at the intersection.

The right turn lane and single thru lane for eastbound traffic on Millsap will remain in place, and a dedicated left-turn lane will be added for westbound traffic turning onto College from Millsap.

Brown said full pedestrian access improvements are also planned in all four directions.

Front Street changes

The most noticeable changes might be at the intersection just east of College Avenue where Front Street connects to Millsap Road.

Concepts call for a complete closure of Front Street just north of Millsap, which would essentially turn the street into a driveway for the University of Arkansas Uptown Campus and BOK Financial bank drive-thru. An early draft showed Front Street being converted to a one-way northbound road, but Brown said the latest designs suggest that Front be cut off completely and for traffic to use a new route that would be constructed to the east.

Instead of accessing Millsap from Front Street, southbound traffic would instead use a new street that would extend south from Sain Street which connects to Front Street.

The new street would continue off of an existing roadway that leads from Sain by the Uptown Campus buildings to the Christian Life Cathedral parking lot.

“I think this looks like a great improvement,” said Council Member Sarah Bunch, who was recently elected as chair of the Transportation Committee after Matthew Petty resigned. “It is a very unusual intersection that has evolved into a nightmare over time.”

Nearby, Sain Street is currently being extended to Joyce Boulevard by way of Vantage Drive. That project began in March as the first phase of a longterm plan to provide a direct connection from Joyce to the Fulbright Expressway and Interstate 49.

Conceptual Designs

Burns & McDonnell, courtesy City of Fayetteville / Enlarge

Burns & McDonnell, courtesy City of Fayetteville / Enlarge

Burns & McDonnell, courtesy City of Fayetteville / Enlarge