First phase of Fayetteville’s new Mission Boulevard Trail set to begin with storm drainage installation

Traffic passes through the intersection of Mission Boulevard and North Street on Tuesday, March 28, 2023. (Flyer Photo/Todd Gill)

Construction will soon begin on a new 1.5-mile trail along Mission Boulevard in Fayetteville.

The City Council earlier this month approved a $502,000 contract with Sweetser Construction, Inc. for the installation of storm drainage needed to construct the new trail section, which will stretch from Viewpoint Drive to Maple Street.

The work is part of a longtime plan for the Mission Boulevard corridor, and is considered to be an important connection for pedestrian and bicycle traffic coming from east Fayetteville. It will link existing trails on Mission Boulevard and on Old Wire Road to the historic and downtown areas, as well as to the Razorback Greenway.

The plan is to build a 12-foot trail separated from Mission Boulevard by 6 feet of green space that includes trees and lighting. The trail will run along the east side of Mission from Viewpoint to North Street, and then cross over to the west side of Mission to make for easier access to the Historic District and the recently completed Mission-Razorback trail connector.

With ditches on both sides of Mission Boulevard, the project presents some challenges, said Matt Mihalevich, the city’s active transportation manager. For starters, new storm drainage pipes will need to be installed along the length of the project before a trail can be built on top.

Trail projects are typically constructed by the city’s in-house crew, but Mihalevich said the challenges of the project, coupled with some staff shortages led the city to seek some outside help from a private contractor for the storm drain work, which is where Sweetser Construction comes in.

Mihalevich said there were four bidders for the project, and that Sweeter’s bid was the lowest.

“(Sweetser) came in quite a bit lower – about $100,000 – that I had estimated,” he said. “So I am really pleased with this bid.”

Traffic passes along Mission Boulevard just south of Root Elementary School on Tuesday, March 28, 2023. (Flyer Photo/Todd Gill)

Councilmember Sarah Bunch asked whether Sweetser has any previous experience working with the city’s trails.

Mihalevich said yes, in fact, the Sweetser crew helped with some work related to the Mission-Razorback trail connector that was completed in November.

“They just finished some work for us near Wilson Park, and we’ll be working with the same crew for this project,” Mihalevich said. “They asked a lot of questions in the bidding process, so I think they’ll be a really good contractor to work with here.”

Mihalevich said the project will be split into phases, with the first phase including construction of the trail from Old Wire Road to North Street. That work should begin in the next few months, and once complete, crews will shift to the eastern portion of the trail near Root Elementary School sometime in summer 2024.

The contract calls for the storm drainage work to be completed in 120 days, and also includes a $100,000 contingency.

Funding for the storm drainage installation comes from the trail bonds that voters approved in 2019.

(City of Fayetteville)