SPRINGDALE -- A long-awaited addition to the city's street infrastructure opens Monday.
The Don Tyson Parkway interchange on Interstate 49 will open after a ribbon cutting at 1:30 p.m., said Mayor Doug Sprouse. The opening will come about a month earlier than planned, he said.
At a Glance
Emery Sapp and Sons, the company building the Don Tyson Parkway interchange, was on work day 199 as of June 29. On Monday, when the interchange is scheduled to open, the company will have about 40 days left on its 244-day contract.
Source: City Of Springdale
The project cost $23.7 million and is the centerpiece of Springdale's street bond program, said Alan Pugh, city director of engineering.
The interchange will improves access to the area around Arvest Ballpark, said Alderman Rick Evans, chairman of the City Council Street and Capital Improvement Program Committee.
"This will open up that whole west side of the city," Evans said. "With the work we are doing on 56th Street, that whole area will be ready for development."
Support for the interchange came when the first section of the parkway opened in 2008, Evans said. Construction bids for several city projects in a previous street bond program came in lower than expected, he said.
"We were holding back $5 million yearly from our CIP fund to cover cost overruns," Evans said. "When we realized that we probably wouldn't need that money for those projects, we decided to use it to pay for an interchange."
The first discussion of an interchange at that location was in 2003 when city officials were planning the previous bond program, said Patsy Christie, city director of planning.
"There wasn't enough support for it then," Christie said. "That's why it wasn't included in that program."
The council switched the interchange project to the most recent bond program after voters approved a bond sale that raised $45 million for street projects.
The bond program includes improvement to 56th Street, which runs from Dearing Road to Sunset Avenue. Plans call for Dearing Road between the interchange and 56th Street to be renamed Don Tyson Parkway, Pugh said.
John Reddish, a Springdale businessman, owns property north of the interchange.
"I hope the interchange will bring traffic to the area," Reddish said. "We need to have some businesses open here."
Land to the north of Reddish's property is under contract, he said. The owner of 5555 W. Sunset Ave. is listed by Washington County as 5555 Limited Partnership. Contact information for the company isn't available.
Walmart announced last week a Neighborhood Market is planned for the southeast corner of the interchange. It will be behind a planned Casey's General Store on 48th Street, according to development plans submitted to the city.
The city paid for the construction of Arvest Ballpark, which opened in 2008, with the idea it would bring development to the area. The development hasn't come because of the economic downturn, Sprouse said. Access to the area has been limited, but opening the interchange and the improvement to 56th Street will change that, he said.NW News on 07/03/2014