The second of three planned projects designed to address traffic problems in north Fayetteville began this week.
Several city officials and other involved parties officially broke ground on the College Avenue flyover bridge during a ceremony held Monday afternoon near Red Robin restaurant.
The long-awaited project will provide an alternative for northbound College Avenue drivers who normally make a U-turn at Joyce Boulevard to access the Fulbright Expressway.
Drivers may instead take a left lane bridge just north of Millsap Road that extends over southbound College Avenue traffic to head west on the Fulbright Expressway or exit onto Mall Avenue between Logan’s Roadhouse and Olive Garden.
“I can hardly contain my excitement,” said Mayor Lioneld Jordan. “We’ve been talking about this flyover for about 20 years.”
Jordan said the long-overdue project will provide much-needed relief of traffic congestion and ultimately create a safer environment for drivers.
Chamber of Commerce president Steve Clark said the flyover will help “unlock” the north Fayetteville area and provide a boost for the city’s economy by increasing access to nearby restaurants and shops.
“Uptown is the biggest part of the economic engine that drives revenue for our city,” said Clark. “This flyover will be an integral part of that and will make a difference for not only the existing businesses that are here, but also for the new businesses that will locate here.”
Ward 3 Alderman Justin Tennant said he drove to the event along College Avenue where he fought for left lane space at the Joyce Boulevard intersection and jockeyed through traffic to turn left at Mall Avenue near Walmart before finally arriving at the ceremony site off Van Asche Drive.
“Thank goodness I don’t have to do that very much longer,” said Tennant.
Eighty percent of the costs for the $7.5 million flyover will come from a 2006 federal earmark appropriation for the Fayetteville Expressway Economic Development Corridor project.
The two other projects in the corridor include a roundabout at Futrall Drive and Northhills Boulevard and an extension and widening of Van Asche Drive between Gregg and Garland avenues.
City engineer Chris Brown said the flyover project is expected to be complete by mid-2014. He said work on the roundabout could be finished within a month, and that construction of the Van Asche Drive project would begin sometime next year.