FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The road construction project along Zion Road in Fayetteville has been underway since November 2020, and it’s yet to reach completion. It was originally scheduled to be completed by February 2022, but a snag in the plan caused a setback.
The project is costing around $7.4 million, according to the public works director for Fayetteville. Part of that will come from the city’s water and sewage fund. Another portion will come from a 2019 Streets Improvement Bond.
The public works director for the city Chris Brown said an unanticipated roadblock involved installing a new sewer line. It was over 20 feet deep and the soil was worse than the contractor anticipated.
“What we thought was going to be a patch repair in the road ended up being the hole caving in, and so it’s taken a lot more time and a lot more effort on the part of the contractor,” Brown said.
Brown said the project also faced pandemic-related issues such as staffing issues and trouble getting materials in.
Residents who live right off of the Zion construction are tired of how long it’s taking. They say the end date keeps getting pushed back, and they’re ready for the results. A group of residents who live off Zion Road near Harbor Isle spoke to KNWA/FOX24 on Tuesday.
“I think it’s probably just the frustration of a project that should have probably been completed some time ago and encourages traffic difficulties. Our ability to leave and be somewhere on time is affected,” Fayetteville resident Scott Puryear said.
Along with the amount of time it’s taken is the inconvenience of the gravel road they have to travel on. Some complained about the impact it’s had on their cars.
Some are worried about emergency services getting to a construction area in a timely manner.
“A lot of increased traffic, not just in our neighborhood, but the surrounding neighborhoods. So safety concerns, concerns about emergency services if anything were to come up,” Fayetteville resident and local HOA president Bob Harris said.
Another concern has been with detours. Over the course of the project, some have routed traffic through neighborhoods, which Brown said has caused some issues, such as damage to property. Brown said the city is working with those individuals to remedy the situation.
Zion Road was previously a two-lane winding road where curves could be tight. According to Brown, this improvement will make the road three lanes with a sidewalk and trail. He said it will also be safer for drivers with a lack of ditches.
It could also help alleviate some congestion on other roads.
“The traffic on Joyce Boulevard has been really difficult to manage. So getting this road back completed and fully functional again is important to our network,” Brown said.
The project is set to be completed in May.