The Conway Municipal Airport serves as a geographic obstacle that limits the way people travel through the city, said Brad Lacy, president of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce and Conway Development Corporation.
When looking at an aerial map, Interstate 40 can be seen bowing out to the east to avoid the runway. In addition, there are a number of dead end streets surrounding the airport, including Bruce Street and Robbins Street.
“The airport has always been in the way,” Lacy said, “forcing us to go to either I-40 or Harkrider.”
The rededicating of bonds, to be determined in a special election Sept. 9, will allow the City of Conway to build an overpass bridge that will connect Bruce Street and Elsinger Boulevard and will finance the rest of construction for the Southern Interchange.
The overpass or bridge will connect Elsinger Boulevard, which currently dead ends into Amity Road near Target, to a roundabout intersecting Amity and Elsinger.
The bridge will be four lanes with dedicated bike lanes, which will connect to 6th Street — which will also be expanded into a four-lane road that continues down to 1st Avenue, and then connect with Bruce Street, giving Conway another East/West connector.
“The highway department likes this because it pulls some traffic off of Oak Street,” Lacy said. The fix for Oak Street is to alleviate traffic. The idea is that Bruce Street becomes a four-lane, median divided boulevard.”
Siebenmorgen Road will also become such a boulevard on the north side of town, Lacy said.
As part of the Central Landing road improvements, Lacy said, the Oak Street exit will also be expanded to four lanes and brought down to the proposed mixed-use shopping center thus creating Central Landing Boulevard.
Jim Wilson & Associates, the Central Landing developer, will dedicate money to turn 1st Avenue, which runs beside Kroger, into a four-lane road.
Lacy said he think the highway department will also require some movement of the traffic light for the Hobby Lobby shopping center on Oak Street to line up with 1st Avenue, creating a new and crossable intersection.
Jim Wilson & Associates will also be responsible for expanding 1st Avenue to four lanes, and connecting Equity Avenue, the road that leads to Acxiom’s building in Central Landing, to Ingram Street.
This will allow drivers to go from the airport site to Siebenmorgen Road, Lacy said.
“As this develops out, you’re really starting to build a grid that we’ve never had before,” he said. “You can get from Hendrix [College] to Acxiom without having to get on the interstate or Harkrider.”
Jim Wilson & Associates will be at the Chamber of Commerce building at 900 Oak Street on Tuesday, July 8 at 5 p.m. to discuss plans for Central Landing including surrounding road improvement projects.
The developers are seeking to rezone the old airport site to a PUD or Planned Unit Development at the Planning Commission meeting on Aug. 18.