#artraffic 070818

Connectivity

Some areas in our state are more connected to others. Connectivity is one of the major reasons why. Why live in a rural area if you want to be connected to the world? Some of these areas that are trying to grow, like the Arkansas River Valley, need some help with their connectivity. Starting on the west side of the state and moving east let’s begin in Fort Smith. I’m specifically targeting crossings of the Arkansas River. U.S. Hwy 64, I-40, AR Hwy 59, and eventually I-49 will all be river crossings from the Fort Smith/Sebastian County area to the Alma-Van Buren/Crawford County area. The next river crossing is AR Hwy 23 in the Ozark/Franklin County area. What if they had another? How would this help the area? Thinking this way, Charleston would make sense to have a connection to the north. What about connecting AR Hwy 215? This is the designation of 3 different sections of state highway 215 in Arkansas: 435px-Arkansas_215

The 3 red lines represent AR Hwy 215. Now Hwy 215 doesn’t travel all the way down to Charleston, it connects oddly to AR Hwy 217 and that is the designation to Charleston from Franklin County Roads 31 and 221. I say lets cut all that confusion out and make AR Hwy 215’s southern terminus be AR Hwy 22 in Charleston. Now that part is over let us get back to connectivity. AR Hwy 215 stops at AR Hwy 96 just west of Cecil (that’s the bottom red line). To connect it to the next red line in Mulberry would only take 5.3 miles. Like this:

hwy-215-hwy-96-us-64.pngContinuing AR Hwy 215 across the river to Vine Prairie Road and following that alignment until it intersects Hwy 917S. Once we get to Hwy 917S it is due north to U.S. Hwy 64 in Mulberry. Hwy 917S is 1 mile long, so technically we would only be adding 4.3 miles to the grid. This would successfully connect 2 sections of AR Hwy 215 from Charleston all the way to northwestern Franklin County.

The next river crossing is AR Hwy 109 from the little community Morrison Bluff to Clarksville. How could we have another river crossing from Logan into Johnson County? Lets start in Scranton, which is a little south of Morrison Bluff. Scranton is where AR Hwy 109 intersects AR Hwy 197. FYI: I looked at trying to make something work from Paris, but this idea I am about to present would work in connecting Paris as well. Paris is only 20 minutes or so from Charleston and the same time distance to Scranton, so either way Paris would now be better connected to the other side of the river and I-40. The idea is to extend AR Hwy 197 across the river to Knoxville. Something like this:

Hwy 197 (Scranton to Knoxville)This gives some of Hwy 197 back to the county and takes over some other roads. At the first red dot where Hwy 197 turns south, I propose turning it north on Garrison Road until the second red dot which would turn the alignment east on the Tokalon Road alignment. This would stay the same until we cross the river and tie into Jenkins Ferry Road in Knoxville. We extend Jenkins Ferry Road across some railroad tracks to School Street. The alignment stays on School Street and ties into Plum Street, Plum Street is directly across U.S. Hwy 64 from AR Hwy 315. So why not rename that section of Hwy 315 to call it Hwy 197? This idea adds another 6.21 miles to the state highway grid. I believe this would better connect the river valley.

The next river crossing is on AR Hwy 7 from Dardanelle to Russellville. Where can we find another area to cross from Yell County to Pope County? AR Hwy 154 begins in Danville and runs east for 41 miles to AR Hwy 113 east of Oppelo. I would like to look at an area in between New Neely and Pontoon. Here we see a road running in a northerly direction towards the Arkansas River. Carden Bottoms Road. This road would be a good candidate to take across the river and tie into AR Hwy 105 that runs from south of Atkins to Hector. It would look like this:

hwy-105-ext.png

This adds 3.68 miles to AR Hwy 105. The section west of the new intersection can be given to Pope County. Having a connection across the river other than AR Hwy 7 from Pope County to Yell County is very badly needed in my opinion and this idea would accomplish that.

The next river crossing is AR Hwy 9, this connects Oppelo and parts of northern Perry County to Morrilton and Conway County. After that AR Hwy 60 connects Perryville and Houston in Perry County to Conway and Faulkner County. Another route that connects Perry County to Pulaski County is AR Hwy 10, but you are south of the Arkansas River there. Once we are in Pulaski County we have I-430, the Broadway Bridge, the Main Street Bridge, I-30, & I-440 to get across the Arkansas River.

I believe these 3 proposed river crossings would benefit the Arkansas River Valley’s cities be better connected. The counties south of the river: Logan and Yell  would be better connected to counties on the north side: Crawford and Johnson (Franklin county is on both sides of the river).

Until next week

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#artraffic 062418

Good morning to everyone

Fort Smith

The second largest city in Arkansas, I’ve lived there twice and I liked it. I didn’t understand the post about it being the 50th worst city to live in America. As the saying goes “Life’s worth living in Fort Smith”. There is a traffic snafu I want to discuss today. We are going to start with what’s there and see if we can find a solution about what should be.

6th-mussett-spradling-roundabout.png

North 6th Street and Spradling Avenue cross at a goofy angle to begin with and then you have Mussett Road tying in as well. We have 5 roads diverging at the same place. ROUNDABOUT! This is the perfect candidate to have a roundabout. Lets look at a streetview of this.

 view-from-n-6th.png

This is the view if you are on North 6th Street and heading towards the downtown Garrison area. See how complicated this is? Plus you’ve got this mess of power lines above to deal with. A roundabout would eliminate all the street lights at this intersection, allowing more room for the power lines to be untangled. A massive roundabout like the one west of Dickey Stephens Park in North Little Rock isn’t required. Something like this could work:

rough roundabout

I tried to make it in the center of the existing intersection as best I could, the two existing ramps (from Spradling to 6th and from 6th to Mussett) might be beneficial to stay and incorporate them into the roundabout. This is kind of a rough sketch to give an idea about how a roundabout would fit in this area. I think this is the idea that will work here.

Until next week

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#artraffic 061718

Dover

Gateway to the Ozarks

Lets travel up AR Hwy 7 from Russellville on a nice 5 lane road. Once it crosses Linker Creek Bridge it loses 2 lanes. Still a 3 lane road (which is good for a small town). But that only lasts for a half of a mile. Right through the heart of town it becomes a 2 lane rural highway. This needs to change. For only 3200 feet from Utley Drive (where 7 becomes 2 lane) to the intersection that takes 7 west and 27 east this road is 2 lane. Why can’t this be 3 lane.? There are massive ditches on either side of the road with newly constructed sidewalks as well. Lets put some pipes in those ditches, build some drop inlets, and widen this baby out. Okay there is a little more to do than just that, but you get the idea. So when it gets to the intersection, Market Street continues north. But Market Street doesn’t go anywhere. There is a road to tie in to, whatever they’re calling the split off of Elizabeth Street that goes to the Primary School. Lets fix a few things here. First,  Market Street should continue its 3 lane width all the way to Primary School Road (for lack of a better term). Second, the Primary School Road should become an west-east road from a new intersection by the baseball field complex over to just east of the first Illinois Bayou Bridge (this would be close to tying into Colony Street). Third, remove the massive and unnecessary curve out of the split off of Elizabeth Street. Make Elizabeth Street run due north into the new Primary School road alignment and give the old part a new name (like maybe Old Elizabeth Ave) and a new -| intersection (the symbol is how the intersection would look). Back at 7, this whole intersection needs to be a true perpendicular intersection with a traffic signal. Now that you have 2 roads crossing this would be the perfect time to have that. Right now if you are coming from Hector direction on 27 and want to turn south on 7 it is almost impossible during peak traffic hours, this idea would eliminate that. Since we are in this part of town, Camp Street (which is 7 and 27 running east and west) should also be widened to 3 lanes all the way from the first Illinois Bayou Bridge through town and ending at Ball Park Road. Surely we can do better than “Ball Park Road”. Where did that come from? From the committee of unoriginality? How about this: instead of Ball Park Road it becomes Faulkner Road. The hell you say? Faulkner Road would have to be slightly realigned but this would be perfect: faulkner-street-ext-dover.png

4615 feet is not that far. This would give another way to enter and exit the baseball complex. This would benefit the people that live out towards Oak Grove and even the Atkins area. Perhaps this would also spur some economic development in Dover, you won’t know if you don’t try.

Until next week

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#artraffic 061018

Today we are going to brainstorm about some Arkansas Highway extensions in Johnson County, these ideas would be contingent on some other ideas that have been mentioned here previously. The idea is to make Johnson County more connected within itself.

AR Highway 21

Haven’t we covered this before? We have covered the intersection with the new US Hwy 64B/AR Hwy 21/Palmer Road. Remember the idea about having 359 begin at the Spadra Marina and become Quarry Street into Lamar? I would like to see AR Hwy 21 have its southern terminus at the new AR Hwy 359. Where would this be? There is a road that ties into Quarry Street that would be the ideal fit: Big Danger Road. Big Danger Road runs north and bridges over I-40 continuing on and ending at the new US Hwy 64 (this is old Hwy 123 or Brick Plant Road if you can’t remember). This is east of where the Johnson County Nursing and Rehab center is. Before I get ahead of myself, at the intersection with I-40 there should be exit ramps placed here. This would make a new Exit 60. Clarksville would now be a 4 exit town. These ramps would not be your normal ones, when I say normal I mean they wouldn’t form your typical diamond shape because there is no room. On the south side of I-40 Market Street ties into Big Danger Road right next to the interstate right of way and there is some mass of metal buildings across the road that I have yet to figure out what they are. So all 4 ramps would have to be placed on the north side of the interstate. Where Big Danger Road comes in and Palmer Road takes off is about a half of a mile apart. Rather than angling a new alignment 45 degrees from I-40 to meet Palmer Road, I think for the purpose of what we are trying to accomplish we can have 21 run concurrently with new US Hwy 64. Then it can run north on the Palmer Road alignment and with that new intersection idea this would really make sense for emergency services. From the new southern terminus with the new AR Hwy 359 to the new intersection with 64B would be somewhere around 2.5 miles. While we are in this area, would it not be a good idea for Clarksville to extend Taylor Road all the way over? Even if this Hwy 21 idea never comes to fruition, extending Taylor Road to Big Danger Road just makes sense for the city.

AR Highway 315

Most of you probably don’t know where either section is. It is another state highway that is broken into pieces. Why is this? Why can’t two roads that are connected numerically be connected physically? If it were law that all roads that weren’t connected be different numbers was the case we’d be like Texas and have State Road 1587 somewhere. AR Hwy 315 has one piece in Knoxville and another that breaks off of AR Hwy 359 and heads to Lutherville. What if we extended the Knoxville piece across Big Piney over to 359? We could do this by extending 315 into Piney Bay Road. It would take a massive 1000 foot (at least) bridge (probably at least 100 foot tall over the water) to get across Big Piney but it could work. We would be tying Piney Bay Road into Private Road 2704 on the other side, possibly realigning it some. All in all this project would be roughly 2.25 miles. 315 and 359 would then run concurrently all the way around the backside of Piney Bay until 315 split off and headed north towards Lutherville. 315 ends in Lutherville but the road keeps going. Why can’t we extend that piece as well? This would extend 315 on the northern end by 4.5 miles. All total we’re not even adding 7 miles of state highway with this idea. This would help Johnson County emergency services by allowing them to travel straight across from the Knoxville area to the Flat Rock area and the Piney Bay area instead of having to take a longer route around.  This project (especially on the Knoxville end) would be beneficial to the Lamar School District, providing another route that buses could take and travel on to get the kids to class more efficiently. By having major construction in the area, this would generate dollars to the local economy, thereby generated more local tax revenue.

Until next week

 

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Crow Mountain Road

Kind of seems like it could be a title for a Stephen King novel doesn’t it? Part of Crow Mountain Road is AR Hwy 363. AR Hwy 363 is an odd duck in itself,  its split into 2 sections on either side of Crow Mountain. Although the google earth has it going all the way through from Pottsville to Atkins. Lets start at the Pottsville end. The huge AR Hwy 247 bypass was built about 6 years ago, it ties into US Hwy 64 right across from AR 363. Why is this? Why can’t 247 run straight through? Where is the highest total number if we added the two road (that would make a direct path) numbers together? (247 + 363 = 610) Idea: get rid of the 363. This just happened about a year ago in Russellville. Part of Weir Road used to be AR Hwy 326. When the big 124 job happened, 124 was taken all the way to US Hwy 64 and the 326 was dropped. Same thing here, lets get rid of 363 on both sides and have 247 run all the way to where it takes off from AR Hwy 105. Something like this:hwy-247-ext.pngThat is only approximately 3.3 miles of new construction. If this was put into place then AR Hwy 247 would run non stop from AR Hwy 7 just north of Dardanelle all the way to Hattieville. That is approximately 30 miles. So this isn’t the only thing that should happen. Where the new location 247 would tie in at 105 there is a big problem. 105-hill.pngThis is the existing intersection of AR Hwy 105 and AR Hwy 247. There isn’t 300 feet of sight distance from this intersection to that hill. If a vehicle is traveling at 55 mph (which is the speed limit for this section of roadway) then they are getting by at about 80 feet per second. So you have less than 4 seconds to accelerate from a stopped position and get up to 55 mph to not get ran over. Bogus. While we’re in the area lets get rid of that hill. A 1000 foot project would be all it would take to dig this hill out and create more sight distance for the driver. Even if the above proposed 247 never came to fruition, the 1000 foot project to remove this hill should become a priority. Let’s save some lives and prevent some crashes that are preventable.

Until next week

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#artraffic 052718

Today we are going to do a Capital Improvements Program for the Lamar area. They don’t have one. Everyone needs an idea of where they are headed, so lets light the way. Right as soon as you get off the I-40 on Exit 64 and head towards town there is a road to heads to the right. That is Harris Road, it turns into County Road 2642 and dead ends. We should extend this to tie into County Road 2640. Like this: harris-road-ext.pngSee that length? That is a little over a quarter of a mile. This project would help traffic flow around Lamar, as well as allow for better school bus logistics during the school year. I’ve found some figures on ARDOT’s website that would help determine the cost of this and the other endeavors we are suggesting. The cost of a new location 2 lane collector in a rural setting (which this would be) is about 1.7 million per lane mile. 1634 feet is about 30% of a mile so this project would have about a $530,000 price tag to do.

As we travel up US Hwy 64 into Lamar, you know you’re in Lamar when you hit the Hickeytown Road intersection. As we travel down Hickeytown, the city limits end at Garrett Road. Garrett Road is another road in Lamar that is a dead end. Lets fix that one as well. We shall extend Garrett Road all the way down to Harris Road. Like this:garrett-road-ext.png

This is a bit longer, we still haven’t extended it a mile. This project would also help traffic flow around Lamar and it would help school bus logistics during the school year. At 3645 feet this project is going to have a higher price tag. This one would be in the neighborhood of $1.175 million to do.

Let us move to the other side of Lamar and go up AR Hwy 359. Right at the end of the city limits there is another road that takes off to the North. Its named North Hughes Road. It, like Garrett, is a dead end. There isn’t a road to directly tie in to but we can be a little creative and go due north, then take a 90 degree left turn and tie this road into Nation Lane. We’d be extended 2 roads more or less, something like this:hughes_nation-ext.png

This project is longer than the Garrett Road extension. Again this would help traffic around the Lamar area as well as help school bus logistics during the school year. This one checks in at about 4621 feet. That equates to roughly $1.5 million.

I can’t for the life of me figure out why this next one hasn’t already been completed. More than likely its because of a lack of funds. If you pass by Lamar schools, you know exactly what road Elberta is. We talked about it possibly becoming AR Hwy 359 last week. Elberta carries traffic down to the football and baseball fields. There is a road that ties into Elberta but doesn’t tie into US Hwy 64, like it should. It should be like this:Sewer Treatment System Road ext

I know its gross to smell, but extending Sewer Treatment System Road (and possibly renaming it) would absolutely help school bus logistics and traffic flow, especially home games (both football and basketball). This extension would only be 790 feet, by far the shortest. It would come with the smallest price tag as well, only $255,000.

Speaking of Elberta, I think we should extend that road as well. But this one is gonna get pricey. Elberta continues south past Sewer Treatment System Road (seriously lets rename that road) and almost comes into contact with I-40. I’m suggesting we bridge over I-40 and tie Elberta into Red Oak Road. This is another project that would greatly benefit Lamar and the school’s bus logistics. Something like this: elberta-ext.png

This one is almost 1150 feet, but you’d have to add another 500 feet to tie it all together properly (meaning a new intersection configuration). Plus there is a bridge you’d have to build to get over I-40, that’s gonna add more cost. Probably a 350 foot long bridge. So we’ve got 1650 feet of roadway, that’s $531,250. Add in that bridge (the sheet says $121 per square foot of deck) so a 350 x 40 bridge is gonna cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000. Add that to the roadway cost and we are looking at about a $750,000 project.

All totaled that is $4.21 million in 5 projects that would enhance Lamar’s grid, vastly benefit the logistics of the Lamar school bus routes and traffic during the home basketball and football games (as well as when prom and graduation happen). Let’s say somehow we found funds to generate $5,000,000 over a 10 year period. That would leave $790,000 for maintenance and repair of existing streets on top of what Lamar already does on a per year basis. Let’s make this happen.

Until next week

 

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#artraffic 052018

One of 12 days of the year when if you’re meaning to type mm/dd/yy it looks like you’re typing mm/yyyy. Today lets spend some time in Lamar. I happen to reside in this small city, I grew up here. There are a few areas in and around town that I think should be improved. We are going to start in Clarksville, but you will see why as we go along. Quarry Street begins at AR Hwy 103 over in the Jamestown area (south of the city limits of Clarksville), no doubt if you’re from this area you have been on that road. It winds up a hill passing Big Danger Road and once on top it bridges over I-40 and on down into the city limits of Lamar. Quarry Street passes Lamar schools and winds through the Lamar cemetery. Back at the AR Hwy 103 tie in, what if that was redone? If we travel towards the west on 103 we would find Fisherman Road about 3 tenths of a mile down. What if we started to ease towards Quarry Street from there? Then stopped 103 at the intersection. The next step in my plan is to make the rest of old 103 and Quarry Street all the way into Lamar AR Hwy 359. So from the marina over to Lamar Schools becomes AR Hwy 359. But that doesn’t tie in to the existing AR Hwy 359 alignment. Stick with me. First off, Quarry Street would need to be upgraded to a state highway, that’ll be the first step. Next, the bridge over I-40 would need exit ramps. This would become Exit 62 on I-40. Once Quarry Street, or AR Hwy 359 as it is now known, gets to Elberta Street we have a couple of options. A) we continue AR 359 on Quarry Street through the cemetery, build a bridge over the creek and run the road right into Cabin Creek Avenue, then go a tenth of a mile into US Hwy 64. B) continue on Quarry Street as before, but build the new location to tie into 3rd Street, this road runs right into South Seminary Street which ties directly into AR Hwy 359 on the other side of US Hwy 64. C) Instead of continuing into the cemetery, use the Elberta alignment to run into Cabin Creek Avenue, then over to Seminary Street.

A will be represented by blue, B will be represented by red, and C will be represented by green.

359 options

Personally I think options B and C are the best. C is the best option if you are totally against construction happening near the cemetery. I understand that, I would only propose making the cemetery portion a 2 lane curb and gutter section that’s 23 foot wide. That would be 2 10 foot lanes and since the standard curb and gutter is 1.5 feet, that is where the 23 feet come into play. It is about 17 right now so we’d only be adding 3 foot on each side through there. The fun part about options A and B is building a new bridge or box culvert. So if the Quarry Street turning into AR Hwy 359 never becomes a reality, I’d still like to see option A or B carried out. But, instead of building a brand new bridge or box, how about we find a couple of short historic bridges and place them side by side. This would really make a statement, it would instantly become an icon of the community. That’s just a thought. I’d like to see that done on Cumberland Street as well. I just think it would be really neat to upcycle some older bridges and repurpose them here. I’m referring to old metal truss styled bridges for those who are scratching their heads at me right now. I think if you could find 2 and place them side by side, you could have each bridge carry 1 lane of traffic instead of 2 lanes and you’d eliminate that much more load. These bridges have been carrying 2 lanes for up to 100 years, with a new substructure they could last another lifetime. Now lets move away from the 359 stuff and pivot over to Johnsonville Street. This is the city street that is across from AR Hwy 123. Lets assume that my widening of US Hwy 64 and my AR Hwy 359 became a reality. There is a HUGE vacant lot between the Post Office and Lamar City Hall. Part of it has been sold and there will be some kind of doctor office built there. Down Johnsonville Street is the key to this idea. There needs to be a downtown built here. I’m not talking about all the dumb metal buildings that have been turned into fireworks stands and pawn shops in Lamar, why did someone allow that? No I’m talking about 2 and 3 story buildings that might have a shop or a restaurant (God forbid we ever have a nice place to eat in Lamar) housed in it. Johnsonville Street is the key, it could become a revenue making machine. If you carried those downtown styled buildings down to the City Hall, and across US 64 to either side of AR 123, then you’ve just created a town square. Think of all the revenue possibilities that Lamar is missing out on by not having this. I’m talking about something like this:

historic-downtown

I honestly have no idea where this is, but it represents what I’m talking about. Lamar needs a downtown. Lets make this happen.

Until next week

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