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FARMINGTON -- The city will hold a public information meeting from 4 to 7 p.m. today at the Farmington High School's Performing Arts Center on the design plans to widen and improve two miles of Arkansas 170.

Anyone from the community is welcome to come, view the design plans, ask questions and submit comments. The center is on South Hunter Street, which is also Arkansas 170, next to Cardinal Arena.

The public comment period will remain open through July 26.

About 50 percent of the project has been designed, according to Ron Petrie, senior project manager with Garver LLC engineering firm in Fayetteville. Farmington awarded a $650,000 contract to Garver to design the project, with 80 percent paid for with federal highway money and a 20 percent matching grant from the city. Farmington will be responsible for $130,000.

According to information to be handed out at the public meeting, the project will reduce traffic congestion, increase capacity and improve road safety to the surrounding area.

The two-mile project starts at the intersection of South Hunter and Main Street in Farmington and ends at the intersection with Clyde Carnes Road. The work calls for three lanes with a continuous left turning lane throughout the 2 miles.

Both sides of the road will have 5-foot-wide sidewalks, along with curb and gutter and shoulders. A green space will be between the highway and sidewalk.

The section has three 90-degree curves that will be flattened slightly, Petrie said. The sharp curves are at Wolfdale, Southwinds and Appleby roads.

Petrie said Garver and city officials looked at several options on what to do about the intersection of Southwinds Road and South Hunter.

A traffic study showed the intersection didn't meet the requirements for a traffic signal, he said.

One idea, said Petrie, was to make it a T-intersection with all-way stops. It was decided to keep the basic design of the intersection the same but to flatten the curve to improve visibility from all directions.

Melissa McCarville, city business manager, said she doesn't believe traffic will be much of a problem at the intersection on a daily basis. For large school events, such as graduation, police officers can be used to control traffic.

Petrie said the city can add a traffic signal in the future if it becomes warranted.

The firm's traffic study for the 2 miles showed an average daily count of 2,515 vehicles for 2016. Projected growth to 2036 is an average 4,629 vehicles on the road daily. The projection includes traffic for the new high school, which opens this year.

After the public meeting, Garver's next steps will be to submit environmental documents to the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department and finish the design stage.

The city's next step on the project will be to acquire rights of way to widen the road and move utilities. The city will seek to acquire property on both sides of the highway, McCarville said.

Farmington has already been approved to receive 2017 federal money to acquire rights of way. McCarville said the city estimates right-of-way acquisition will cost about $600,000. Farmington's portion is 20 percent or about $120,000.

The third phase of the project is to move utilities. The City Council recently approved applying for 2018 money to move utilities. Next, the city will request money for construction. Petrie said the estimated construction cost is $7.5 million.

NW News on 07/11/2017

Print Headline: Farmington road project public meeting set

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