Bucks For Bikers — And Walkers

Bucks For Bikers — And Walkers

Regional trails benefit from state money


Several trail projects in Northwest Arkansas, including Decatur’s Veteran’s Trail and one at Devil’s Den State Park, are getting a share of money from the state Department of Transportation.

“Several of them are continuing projects that the regional planning commission has been involved with,” said Tim Conklin, a senior planner with the commission. “Many of those projects are being done in phases, and so we continue to complete additional phases, connecting more neighborhoods together and neighborhoods to our 150 miles of trail system that we have on the ground.”

Conklin noted in addition to about 150 miles of paved, shared-use trails, Benton and Washington counties also have about 250 miles of natural surface trails.

The department announced 46 projects received grants totaling $10 million from the 2018 Transportation Alternatives Program and Recreational Trails Program.

The first program gives grants to projects such as sidewalks, bicycle infrastructure, pedestrian and bicycle signals, lighting and other safety-related infrastructure for trails. Conversion of abandoned railroad corridors for pedestrian and bicycle trails is also eligible. It is a reimbursement grant program that provides an 80 percent federal share to match a 20 percent local share.

More than $8.1 million was awarded for those projects including $400,000 to Gravette for trail improvements; $250,000 to Rogers for sidewalks along Eighth Street; $155,000 to Siloam Springs for North Hico Street sidewalks and trail improvements; $255,000 to Arkansas Parks and Tourism for the trail system at Devil’s Den; and $500,000 to Springdale for Dean’s Trail, Phase II. Eureka Springs was given $200,000 for West Van Buren Street sidewalk improvements.

Tim Scott, assistant superintendent at Devil’s Den, said the money will be used to replace a Civilian Conservation Corps bridge over Lee Creek that washed away during a flood in the late 1950s.

“The proposal is to replace it and make it potentially look as much like a CCC bridge as possible within the means of the financing,” Scott said. “It’ll kind of connect from one portion of Devil’s Den Trail over closer to Yellow Rock Trail.”

The Recreational Trails Program is money set aside specifically for maintenance and restoration of existing trails, development and rehabilitation of trailside and trailhead facilities and trail linkages, and construction of new trails. More than $1.6 million was awarded for those projects, including $250,000 to Decatur for an addition to Veteran’s Trail; $121,000 to Gentry for Flint Creek bridge and trail additions; and $88,000 to Fayetteville for tunnel improvements on its trail system.



Other Projects

A few of the larger Transportation Alternatives Program projects statewide include the Delta Heritage Trail from Watson to the Arkansas River, the downtown streetscape in Pine Bluff, phase four of the rehabilitation of the Old River Bridge over the Saline River, and phase four of the Craighead Forest Greenway Trail. Recreational Trails Program projects awarded include rehabilitation of the Ouachita Trail at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, and phase one of the Stone Dam Creek Trail in Conway.

Source: Arkansas Department of Transportation

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