After 19 months of construction on Garland Avenue, residents said they are looking forward to using the new five lane road—complete with protected left hand turns.
“I never went this Garland way in the mornings because it was just too busy, and I couldn’t go out,” Carrie Byron said.
Byron works for the University of Arkansas, and said she had to find an alternate route to work because of the traffic congestion. She said she is looking forward to the landscaping on the new medians.
“I’m looking forward to seeing trees in the median, so that it looks like the rest of campus,” Byron said.
Tucker Boys has lived just off Garland Avenue for 48 years. He said he has watch the area develop over the decades, and he said he knew the expansion was inevitable.
“It’s partly because of the interstate, and what’s the point of having a good interstate highway system if once you get back into town you get back on the little cattle trails you had 100 years ago,” Boys said.
Jeff Stroud is an engineer with the State Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, and said the crews did all they could to keep residents on Garland as comfortable as possible during the construction.
“You don’t want to have to go in there and tear down someone’s house just to build a new road if you can shift it over a few feet to the other side or ten feet or whatever to miss it, but we made every effort to minimize the impact to those people that live on that road,” Stroud said.
He said in order to widen Garland Avenue from two lanes to five, resident’s front lawns had to be cut into to create space for the new road. Hank Overby lives on Garland and said he lost about 12 feet of his front yard. Overby said he wasn’t bothered by it, but the chaos of construction has been a little frustrating.
“It was definitely a mess,” Overby said, “It was disorienting at night with all the fluorescent cones, but not all that much of a problem.”
He said he knows once the fall semester at the U of A begins, the new road will be used frequently.
“I imagine with all the new students traffic will state getting more and more congested with people coming off 112,” Overby said.
For more information on the project’s budget and funding, click here.