Groups gather to break ground on Mercy Way project
The City of Bella Vista gathered on Thursday with representatives from local, state and federal agencies to break ground on the Mercy Way bridge replacement project in Bella Vista.
This is a large-scale project that has been in the making since February 2015, and is funded by several local, state and federal entities, including the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Alternatives Program, the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program-Attributable and the Walton Family Foundation.
The city is responsible for paying just over $300,000 of the $7.6 million total cost of the project, thanks to matching grant programs.
Once completed, the bridge – which serves as a main arterial street in Bella Vista and is traveled by nearly 8,000 commuters daily – will be four lanes, plus a pedestrian walkway on the north side of the bridge.
Mayor Peter Christie said the growth coming to the east side of the city was apparent at least a decade ago, and the intersection at U.S. 71 has always been one of the most dangerous in the city.
“This project will completely reconfigure that intersection, allowing for a safer, faster commute time for those who travel that way daily,” he said.
The updated roadway will also allow easier and safer access to the shopping center at Sugar Creek Center, as well as Cooper Elementary and Blowing Springs Park, one of the most frequented destinations in the city.
“Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission has been a terrific partner in helping identify funding sources through various federal programs,” Christie said.
The pedestrian walkway is the next step in the northward expansion of the Razorback Regional Greenway, which currently runs from Fayetteville to Bella Vista for a total of 40 miles and could one day extend north through Bella Vista along the Little Sugar Creek valley, said Erin Rushing, director of Trailblazers.
Manhattan Road & Bridge, the contractor chosen for the project, will begin construction in early April and work is slated to be complete by summer 2023. The project will start with bridge pier construction and the widening of the north side of the east and west approaches to the bridge, including the intersection of Mercy Way and U.S. 71.
Motorists should expect lane closures and delays during construction. Alerts and information will be provided from the city with as much advanced notice of scheduled delays as possible. Residents should follow the city on Facebook or Twitter and sign up to receive alert texts from the city, which provide information such as this to residents. To sign up, text the word BELLAVISTA to 888-924-1255 or sign up online here.