ROGERS -- The Uptown overpass will better connect three core parts of that area of the city, officials said.
A ribbon cutting and grand opening for the overpass -- just north of the Walmart AMP -- was held Thursday afternoon before a crowd of between 40 and 50 people.
The structure over Interstate 49 is billed as a significant infrastructure milestone that will enhance connectivity and accessibility in the Uptown District, according to the city.
The project represents the city's commitment to progress, improved mobility and a better quality of life for residents and visitors. It creates a direct connection between the commercial, medical and residential areas of Uptown, according to a city news release.
TopGolf, the Walmart AMP, Mercy Hospital, Pinnacle Hills Promenade, the Rogers Convention Center and a planned United Soccer League stadium are among the current or future features of the Uptown District, said Peter Masonis, city public relations manager.
The Uptown overpass will connect Rife Medical Lane to Northgate Road, a huge infrastructure addition to the area, Masonis said.
The overpass will help cut down travel time and traffic on Pauline Whitaker Parkway and New Hope Road, Masonis said.
"It is always our hope to improve the grid by building additional connector roads where possible," he said. "This helps even more when it is a way to cross the interstate. The overpass will be excellent for public safety and getting residents and visitors to the hospital as quickly as possible."
Lance Jobe, deputy director of engineering services with city Community Development, said the span will create better connectivity in the area and help with response times from Mercy to the west side of Interstate 49. There also is a protected 12-foot sidewalk on the south side of the overpass for bikes and pedestrians, he said.
Money from the 2018 city bond issue paid for the project. The Uptown overpass cost is an estimated $9.8 million, Jobe said.
Crossland Heavy Construction built the overpass, Jobe said. It opened to traffic Sept. 17, said Dan Thompson with Crossland Heavy.
Mayor Greg Hines gave a short speech that highlighted the importance of the Uptown overpass and its impact on the community at a gathering on the west side of the overpass.
"I am super excited abut it," Hines said. "I think the functionality is exactly as imagined. This is really special."
Raymond Burns, Rogers/Lowell Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, and Thompson also gave brief remarks.
Visit https://www.rogersar.gov/1189/Uptown-Overpass for more information about the project.