The long-awaited extension of Van Asche Drive should begin sometime in the next few months.
City Council members on Tuesday approved a construction contract with APAC-Central, Inc. for the project, which is set to be completed by spring 2015.
The one-mile realignment and extension will create a straight connection from Garland to Gregg avenues, making it much easier for drivers looking to get from Garland to the commercial district near the Northwest Arkansas Mall.
Getting between the two areas is currently possible, but requires drivers to take a series of two-lane roads that wind back and forth through the Johnson city southern limit and an open field east of Interstate 540.
Designs unveiled this week show four traffic lanes from Garland to Gregg, with a landscaped median on the eastern side of the extension. Street section designs call for five-foot-wide sidewalks on both sides of Van Asche, and a 10-foot-wide multiuse trail on the south side of the street that’s separated from the roadway by 10 feet of planned green space.
Chris Brown, city engineer, said the trail will eventually provide a connection between Clabber Creek Trail to the west and Scull Creek Trail to the east.
The $4.5 million construction contract will be paid for with the third phase of the $65.9 million transportation bond program voters approved in 2006.
The bond program has paid for many other projects including a new intersection at Gregg Avenue and North Street; downtown enhancements to College Avenue; a roundabout near Washington Regional Medical Center; widening projects on Garland Avenue and Crossover Road; and the College Avenue flyover bridge.
Here’s a closer look at the plans: