A planned means to alleviate traffic congestion in Greenwood was discussed in detail on Wednesday.
The Greenwood City Council held a study session on Wednesday to discuss traffic relief in the city. Greenwood Mayor Doug Kinslow said he and others presented a plan to relieve traffic to Scott Bennett, Director of the Arkansas Department of Transportation, about a year and half ago. Bennett backed the plan, which was a variation of many other plans the city presented over the years.
In a previous Times Record article, Kinslow said Greenwood's traffic congestion stems from the east side of the city on Arkansas 10 Spur. The traffic peaks during school hours, when morning and afternoon traffic merges with typical congestion.
The Arkansas State Highway Commission approved a minute order pertaining to the plan that was presented on July 24. The plan is divided into two phases, with the first being to build about one mile of new highway from the intersection of Arkansas 10 and Coker Street to the intersection of Arkansas 10 and Arkansas 96. This new portion of highway would be added to the state highway system, and an agreement of understanding between Greenwood and ArDOT provided by Kinslow states Greenwood would assume ownership and responsibility for the portion of Arkansas 10 between Arkansas 96 and Bass Street when this phase is completed.
The second phase of the project calls for widening about two miles of Arkansas 10 between Coker Street and U.S. 71. Upon completion, Greenwood would assume ownership and responsibility for the part of Arkansas 10 between Bass Street and Elm Street, as well as the part of Arkansas 10 Spur between Arkansas 10 and U.S. 71. Kinslow previously said Greenwood would take over about three miles of Arkansas 10 and 10 Spur when the traffic relief project is complete.
Greenwood would also provide 20% of the construction cost for both phases of the project and right of way for the new highway portion. A planning estimate recently provided by ArDOT states the total cost for the project would be $33 million, which Kinslow said was an increase from an earlier estimate of $26 million. The city of Greenwood's share for the project under this new estimate is $7 million.
Kinslow said the new highway detailed in phase I of the project would extend across property owned by James Burgess. Burgess owns about 100 acres of land in this part of the city.
"He's the main property owner," Kinslow said. "There's two other property owners that would be involved, but he has the most property ... probably looking at about 20 acres of his property for the four-lane, including the easements and right-of-ways and everything."
Kinslow said a deal between the city and Burgess to purchase this approximately 20 acres of property is in progress. The owners of the two other properties are Shawn Lin and Roger Corbin.
Kinslow also presented two resolutions to the council. One of these resolutions states the city would provide its stated contributions for phase I of the project and determine its contribution for Phase II at a later date. The second resolution states the city would provide its stated contributions to both phases. Kinslow said these resolutions will be presented to the city council for its approval at some point.
Greenwood Finance Director Thomas Marsh was also at the meeting to talk about possible options to secure the $7 million Greenwood needs for the project.