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Author Topic: Fort Smith Street Master Plan - Future Arterial between Hwy 255 and I-40  (Read 295 times)

Razorback19

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In the City of Fort Smith GIS Viewer, the Master Street plan shows a future major arterial between Riverfront Drive (HWY 255) and Lee Creek Road, which would have course require a new bridge over the Arkansas River. Who knows how long this has been on the books for the City of Fort Smith.

While I fully believe that I-49 should take precedence in a new river crossing, I find it interesting that this road and bridge were never built to help alleviate truck traffic going through Downtown when it would easily allow trucks to follow the truck route out to I-40 at the Lee Creek exit.

If you want to check out the GIS, you can find it here...you'll need to turn on the master street plan to see it.

https://www.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=77ae2240eb364f96a6d440581e24284f

Maybe someone can shed some light on why this was never built (or even really proposed beyond being on the master plan)
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bwana39

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Re: Fort Smith Street Master Plan - Future Arterial between Hwy 255 and I-40
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2021, 10:18:56 PM »

This would appear to be an earlier vision of what is supposed to become I-49. Why didn't the build it? My guess is just like every city in the US, there are lots of wants, but the real issue is the ability to pay for it.

We spend hours discussing the lack of funding for a bridge (or set of bridges) for an Interstate. How much farther down the list would a bridge for an arterial fall (even a "NEW US-71").?
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Let's build what we need as economically as possible.

edwaleni

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Re: Fort Smith Street Master Plan - Future Arterial between Hwy 255 and I-40
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2021, 01:52:09 AM »

In short, when Bekaert Corporation decided to locate a plant in Van Buren, a plan was made to connect Fort Smith to these new jobs.

Fort Smith determined that an improvement and extension of North 23rd from Kelley and North 6th all the way along the east side of a future park in the Arkansas River floodplain, across Riverside with a bridge to connect it to Lee Creek Road would be appropriate and it was included in the master plan. The Fort Smith Parks & Recreation master plan also includes the ball parks and recreation facilities in that same floodplain.

Included in the Van Buren plan was to replace the 80 year old Rena Road Bridge over Lee's Creek. That did occur. I think the old bridge was finally demolished in the mid 1990's.

Oddly enough Bekaert is expanding this Van Buren plant in 2022 and gave all their employees 20% raises as well this past week. They make stranded copper wire there and demand is very high right now.

I can only surmise that other priorities came up for Fort Smith and Van Buren to cross the river.

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Razorback19

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Re: Fort Smith Street Master Plan - Future Arterial between Hwy 255 and I-40
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2021, 10:46:59 AM »

I just read about that Bekaert expansion also.

If you look at the amount of plants/industry that this would serve, it would be quite a few...Bekaert, Gerber, OK Foods, Georgia Pacific. ...

Imagine taking all of that truck traffic directly out to I-40.

There's a 2020 article in the Times Record about the City of Fort Smith wanting a different bridge west out of Fort Smith to relocate US Hwy 64 so the city can take over and rework Garrison Ave.

Maybe this road/bridge at the Lee Creek exit would be a better solution?

Link to the old article: https://www.swtimes.com/story/news/2020/12/10/fort-smith-downtown-truck-route-alternative-proposed/3845405001/


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edwaleni

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Re: Fort Smith Street Master Plan - Future Arterial between Hwy 255 and I-40
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2021, 11:03:30 PM »

I just read about that Bekaert expansion also.

If you look at the amount of plants/industry that this would serve, it would be quite a few...Bekaert, Gerber, OK Foods, Georgia Pacific. ...

Imagine taking all of that truck traffic directly out to I-40.

There's a 2020 article in the Times Record about the City of Fort Smith wanting a different bridge west out of Fort Smith to relocate US Hwy 64 so the city can take over and rework Garrison Ave.

Maybe this road/bridge at the Lee Creek exit would be a better solution?

Link to the old article: https://www.swtimes.com/story/news/2020/12/10/fort-smith-downtown-truck-route-alternative-proposed/3845405001/

The "problem" is most of the industry of Fort Smith is either directly south of downtown and if they are reaching the plants south of Van Buren, they drive through town to get to I-540 to cross the river.

Anyone coming east has to go to Van Buren first and take I-540 south to reach this area.

But if what is involved is truckers who can only read a Google Map will take the shortest distance, get off on US-64 in Oklahoma and drive through downtown because that is what the computer told them to do.

There is no road plan they can come up with in their budget that can solve that.
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MikieTimT

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Re: Fort Smith Street Master Plan - Future Arterial between Hwy 255 and I-40
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2021, 12:01:59 PM »

I get the desire to connect the industrial areas around Bekaert with that around Gerber and facilitate an easier access by trucking in northern Ft. Smith.  The amount of Arkansas River that has to be crossed between the 2 existing US-64 bridges means that it would take more bridge than either of the existing 2, and thus likely dooms that pipe dream to failure.  Studies looking into it are at this point in time a rather large waste of taxpayer dollars.  We can't even come up with the funds for an I-49 bridge that will serve what will eventually become an artery through the middle of country, much less something that serves the industrial base of two rather cash strapped cities.
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