Some big changes are coming to the roads just east of Bud Walton Arena on the University of Arkansas campus.
The work is part of a longterm plan to provide better traffic flow through the campus between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Maple Street.
The university is partnering with the city to realign Stadium Drive, a multi-phase project that will involve a complete redesign of the intersections and streets between Bud Walton Arena and Fayetteville High School.
Members of the City Council’s Transportation Committee got their first look at the plans during their most recent meeting.
The biggest changes will come along Virginia Avenue between Bulldog Boulevard and Clinton Drive. The plan is to rename Virginia Avenue to Stadium Drive to match the street names to the north and south of the one-block stretch of road. The road will also be straightened a bit, removing a portion of Clinton Drive and eliminating the awkward intersection where Virginia, Stadium, Clinton, and Bulldog converge.
Leroy Pond Drive will be extended straight to the east to meet the newly named Stadium Drive. The intersection will feature a single-lane “mini” roundabout.
Mike Johnson, the university’s associate vice chancellor for facilities, said the roundabout will be smaller than what was built at Northhills Boulevard near Washington Regional Medical Center. Johnson said the middle of the roundabout will be low enough for buses to drive over without having to stay within the outer vehicle lane.
Officials said many of the rental houses along Virginia Avenue will be demolished to make room for the street realignment, sidewalks, curbs, and street trees.
The work is expected to be completed later this year.
Future plans, which likely won’t begin until mid-2016, call for another roundabout at the Clinton Drive intersection, and extended improvements to Stadium Drive north of Clinton Drive.
The university is paying for the bulk of the project – around $2.5 million. The city will be responsible for about $160,000.
Aldermen will consider the price tag at the April 21 City Council meeting.