A new railroad crossing planned at Futrall Drive and Gregg Avenue will require closing a nearby crossing in Fayetteville.
The project is the second half of a plan to provide access to 130 acres of undeveloped land west of Gregg Avenue and south of Van Asche Drive.
The city has partnered with Arkansas & Missouri Railroad to construct a total of two crossings into the property, but only if the city agrees to remove two other crossings in Fayetteville.
City staff have said the developer of the property has shared conceptual plans for land that includes a mixture of residential properties, restaurant and retail space and an expansion of Washington Regional Medical Center. Staff said if those plans are developed to completion as proposed, the cost of the railroad crossing would be recovered by tax receipts from the construction alone, resulting in a net profit to the city’s tax base beginning in the first year after construction.
The first swap was approve in August and included adding a crossing at Shiloh Drive in exchange for removing the crossing at University Avenue. As part of that plan, a pedestrian and bicycle crossing will be constructed so as not to completely cut off access at the end of University Avenue.
The second swap is for the Futrall Drive crossing. The proposal first called for closing the crossing at Garrett Drive in front of Ridout Lumber between Township Street and West Elm Street.
That plan was met with frustration from the owner of Ridout Lumber who said the crossing in front of his business is absolutely necessary for his delivery trucks. He said the trucks can’t use the existing roadway that leads to the Township Street crossing because the road isn’t wide enough for two-way traffic, especially when railroad cars are unloaded there.
City staff presented several possible options for truck access to Poplar Street, but ultimately the plan was scrapped and traded for the closure of another crossing.
The new proposal calls for complete removal of the driveway and crossing at Jocelyn Lane.
The street, which runs west from Gregg Avenue across from Stone Mill Bread Co., currently provides access to one residential driveway and serves as an access point for the city’s trail system to the west.
City staff said the plan is to work with the owner of the home to address how they’ll access the residence, and to build a new trail access route to the south which lead toward a public right-of-way in front of Meek’s Lumber and Hardware at Township Street.
As part of the new contract, the city has agreed to make good faith efforts to secure city-sourced funding for safety improvements at the Frisco Avenue/Douglas Street crossing within five years and to construct those improvements when funding is available.
The city also would agree to pursue other rail infrastructure and safety improvement grants in the greater Fayetteville area for a potential pedestrian underpass at University Avenue.
Finally, safety improvements at Garrett Drive must also be considered when additional development, street connections, or other factors that cause an increase in the crossing usage come to fruition.
City Council members are expected to discuss the new proposal at their next regular meeting on Dec. 15.
Drawings for both new crossings and the re-route of the Jocelyn Lane trail access point are included below.