Greenwood Mayor, Doug Kinslow has announced a series of town hall meetings to discuss a tax to offer the town some traffic relief, the next meeting will be held on November 19 and at City Hall. “I want to get people to understand as much as possible what the bond issue is,” said Kinslow. “So that when they walk in the door they know what they are voting for.”
Kinslow explained that the vote will not be for a new tax, but to extend an existing tax that was originally passed to build the police station that sits on Old Hackett Road. The extension, if passed on Dec. 10, will extend the tax 35 years and generate approximately 6.2 million dollars. The total cost of the bypass project is 33 million and, if everything goes as planned, will take between two to three years.
Greenwood is one of the fastest growing cities in the state and as a result traffic through town particularly in the mornings and evenings has become a concern. Kinslow has been working on a plan to reroute much of that traffic that flows on highway 10 during peak hours since taking office.
The proposed bypass would go from the intersection of hwy. 96 and East Center, divert it to the South, through Dr. James Burgess’s property, and empty that traffic onto hwy. 10. The plan also proposes the extension of Main Street down to the new bypass. Kinslow stated that Dr. Burgess has agreed to sell the needed property to the city for phase one of the project. Phase two would the widening of Highway 10 from the area near the Pink Bud Nursing home to Hwy. 71
More than just traffic relief a bypass will ensure that emergency services can reach the east side of town in the event that a bridge were to be damaged or an accident were to block the way for police, fire or ems.
According to a report by the Arkansas Department of Transportation commuting trends in the study area revealed that over 60 percent of workers in Greenwood travel daily to employers in the Fort Smith area. Furthermore, over 1,500 residents east of Adamson Creek travel through Greenwood to employers in the Fort Smith area.
Construction of a Greenwood bypass has been discussed for many years. The 1996 Greenwood Master Street Plan considered such a project as /(necessary for the continued orderly industrial growth and development on the south side of Highway 10.” Greenwood Bypass Study, adopted by the Commission in 2007, provided several alignments for a potential Highway 10 bypass. According to the study the lack of connectivity results in high traffic volumes on Highway 10. This causes long peak hour delays and makes employment in Fort Smith more difficult to access. “In future years, delays are expected to further increase along with the duration of peak periods,” states the report. In future years, volumes are expected to exceed capacity at the intersection of Highway 10 Spur and Highway 71. Southbound traffic on Highway 71 turning left at Highway 10 Spur currently yields to northbound traffic before turning. As traffic volumes increase, these turns will become increasingly difficult to make, leading to long delays on Highway 71. Bridges A review of the pavement and bridge conditions was conducted for Highways 10 and 10 Spur to determine if any deficiencies are present. The International Roughness Index (IRI), crack rating, and rutting were used to evaluate the pavement. The pavement for both routes is considered poor, and therefore qualifies for preventative maintenance according to the Department’s Preventative Maintenance Plan. No bridge sufficiency ratings were low enough to warrant replacement. Pedestrians and bicycles Presently, the only sidewalks on Highway 10 are within the Central Business District (CBD).
A multi-use trail is provided in the neighborhoods surrounding the CBD. The City of Greenwood Master Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities Plan includes an expanded system of trails to serve most neighborhoods, including a trail crossing of Adamson Creek. Improvement alternative
A bypass would: Provide a second route across Adamson Creek, system connectivity through Greenwood and southeastern Sebastian County would be greatly improved. Residents would have an improved route to reach employment opportunities, and the risk of a temporary roadway closure would be lessened. The new route would divert most through traffic and some local traffic from Highway 10 through the CBD. This diversion would ensure adequate operations on existing Highways 10.l
In 2016 the Frontier Metropolitan Planning Organization predicted that the largest population growth in the area is expected to be in Greenwood with a 153 percent projected increase by the year 2040. All this adds up to a population of approximately 24,495 by 2040, which is shocking considering that the current number is just 9,666. A bypass will not only get the traffic moving through town but may open up new areas of the city to the south for the development of not only residential but commercial properties in Greenwood.
The final town hall meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 5, at 6pm.
These meetings will be open to the public and will be an opportunity for citizens, and any interested party, to be updated and informed on the upcoming December 10, special election regarding the bond issues to finance the traffic relief project in Greenwood. These meetings are for discussion only and are non-voting meetings.
Mayor Kinslow is also scheduled to meet with Focus on Greenwood at their monthly meeting on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. in the Farmers Bank Community Room.