New traffic signals installed on Nelson Hackett Boulevard in Fayetteville

Traffic moves along Nelson Hackett Boulevard at South Street on Monday, Aug. 14, 2023. (Flyer photo/Todd Gill)

A new set of traffic lights will soon be fully operational at the intersection of Nelson Hackett Boulevard and South Street in Fayetteville.

Crews over the weekend placed the new lights in “flash mode,” which officials said is a 3-5 day requirement before new signals can become fully operational.

The new signals are part of a multi-phase project that featured a complete redesign of the road.

Aside from the new traffic signal and pedestrian crossing at South Street, the work included an overhaul of the five-way intersection at South College Avenue and Rock Street, a width reduction from four lanes to three lanes, and a striped buffer on the north side of the road to separate vehicles from people who are walking or riding bikes.

The road’s name was recently changed from Archibald Yell Boulevard to Nelson Hackett Boulevard in honor of an enslaved man who fled Fayetteville nearly 182 years ago in search of freedom in Canada. Hackett’s escape set off an international dispute that led to then-Arkansas Gov. Archibald Yell formally requesting Hackett be returned to Fayetteville where he was publicly whipped and sold back into slavery. Hackett’s journey, however, eventually helped ensure Canada would remain a safe haven for people who were fleeing enslavement in the United States.