Fayetteville Upgrading Infrastructure With 'Mayor's Box' Project Surrounding the City

by Marty Cook  on Monday, Feb. 17, 2014 12:00 am  

Infrastructure is one of Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan’s favorite subjects.

The city plans to break ground later this month on a one-mile stretch of Van Asche Drive that is a continuation of the “Mayor’s Box” development. The $4.5 million Van Asche project will create a new straight-shot four-lane road that connects the existing road to Highway 112.

The Mayor’s Box is the term city officials came up with in 2006, when Dan Coody was the mayor, for the system of road expansion on the borders of the city. A traffic study commissioned in 2003 said the city needed more than $160 million in improvements to its streets, and the Mayor’s Box is part of the attempt to address those needs.

“You build your city’s future now,” Jordan said. “If you build the proper infrastructure, you can grow the city and it’ll be able to handle the growth. We’re building the infrastructure for the city for the next 50 years right now.”

In 2006, city voters approved a bond issue that generated $65.9 million that, coupled with state funds, Fayetteville is using to upgrade its streets. Even after the Mayor’s Box is done, the city will still have many more projects to fulfill the needs outlined in the traffic study.

“Cities are always trying to play catch-up,” City Engineer Chris Brown said. “The study said we needed $160 million to fix all the problems, and we’re getting a little more than halfway through. We are always going to be behind. You do the best you can with the funds available.”

The Mayor’s Box was developed shortly after the completion of the traffic study while Jordan was a member of the Fayetteville City Council. Crossover Road in the east was expanded, and state funds helped with the cost because Crossover is also Highway 265.

Jordan is excited about developing Rupple Road on the west side of town. The city plans to build and expand Rupple from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in the south to eventually connect to Howard Nickell Road in the northwest corner.

Jordan said Rupple runs through undeveloped land that should become a destination spot for businesses and residences once the work, scheduled to start next year, is completed.

“I’m certainly a firm believer in ‘if you build it, they will come,’” Jordan said. “If you build the infrastructure first, you know folks are going to come. When the road is built, they’ll develop alongside the road.”

Jordan and Brown said studies haven’t determined whether Rupple should be built immediately as a four-lane road or as a two-lane road that can expand as population growth demands it. Without endless funds to build infrastructure, city officials have to plan out each project that makes up the overall box, as well as the more than $60 million in other improvements the study said the city needed.

“We’re going to build more infrastructure in the next three years than we’ve built in 20 years around here,” Jordan said.



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