MCE hired for Bentonville road projects

posted by: Karen Bonvillain | 25th June 2015
MCE hired for Bentonville road projects


By Melissa Gute
Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette

BENTONVILLE — Plans to extend Southeast Eighth Street and widen Water Tower Road are moving forward as the Bentonville City Council approved hiring McClelland Consulting Engineers to design the project.

City Council unanimously approved a $777,500 contract with McClelland for surveys, geotechnical investigation, design, bid administration, staking and construction administration at its meeting Tuesday. Alderman Chris Sooter was absent.

The project will include extending Southeast Eighth about 1,850 feet west from Water Tower Road to Interstate 49 and widening about 5,300 feet of Water Tower Road between Southeast 14th Street to the south and East Battlefield Boulevard to the north, according to meeting documents.

Octavio Sanchez, alderman, lives in the College Place subdivision just north of the where Southeast Eighth Street will intersect with Water Tower Road. Right now his neighborhood and Woods Creek are almost an island from the rest of the city. The road will be a fantastic improvement, Sanchez said.

“It is going to facilitate the connection of the neighborhood to the rest of the city,” he said.

The extension of Southeast Eighth Street will be a four-lane arterial road. Sidewalk, greenspace and curb and gutter will be included, according to documents. Water Tower Road will be widened from two to four lanes.

A two-lane roundabout is planned for the intersection of Southeast Eighth Street and Water Tower Road just north of the water tower.

The estimated construction cost is $8 million, according to Mike Churchwell, transportation director. It will be paid for with bond money. The contract calls for design plans to be complete by Aug. 31, 2016.

If the design stays on schedule then city employees would start acquiring right-of-way and easements shortly after that, Churchwell said. It might be 2017 before utilities are moved. Construction could start in late 2017 or early 2018, he said.
“Of course there are a lot of unknown factors that can affect that,” Churchwell said.

The project is separate from larger improvements planned for the Eighth Street corridor that will improve the road from Interstate-49 to Southwest I Street, Churchwell said. Next year the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department is expected to bid the highway interchange between the two Eighth Street projects but that will not affect this project, Churchwell said.

The city has been discussing this project since 2007 when voters approved the bond issues, he said. Since then, the city’s population has grown quickly, Northwest Arkansas Community College has expanded and traffic has increased.

“With Eighth Street coming in there, it’s going to be real critical that we have access onto the college off of Water Tower Road,” Bentonville Mayor Bob McCaslin said.

From a financial standpoint, this project isn’t part of the city’s Eighth Street Enhancement Project, but it will integrate into those improvements, McCaslin said.

The Eighth Street Enhancement Project will widen Southeast Eighth Street on the west side of Interstate 49 to four lanes from the interstate to Southwest I Street. It will include an interchange at Interstate 49.

The Southeast Eighth Street and Water Tower Road improvement project is being paid for with bond money, while the Eighth Street Enhancement Project will use federal, state, city and Walmart money.

The Eighth Street Enhancement Project is still active as city officials have obtained more than half of the right-of-way acquisitions needed. Utility relocation will follow, McCaslin said.

“The project is really alive and well,” he said.


© 2017 McClelland Consulting Engineers Inc.