Trailhead planned at Riordan
More details have been revealed about the planned trailhead alongside Riordan Road.
The trailhead will be located near the base of a hill, just west of the road’s intersection with U.S. Highway 71, to provide access for the proposed soft-surface trails on the west side of the highway and, potentially, a northern extension of the Razorback Greenway.
Chris Suneson, director of the Community Development Services Department, said this project is benefiting more than trail users.
“The Riordan Road trailhead project is really a hit on two fronts,” he said.
The plan, he said, is to have a parking lot near a tunnel, which will essentially be an eight-foot by eight-foot box culvert running under Riordan Road. That culvert, he said, will replace a drainage pipe that has proved too narrow for the volume of water that rolls downhill during substantial rain events.
In a major rain event, he said, it isn’t uncommon for water to roll over Riordan Road, often resulting in single-lane traffic or closure of the road.
The amount of water, he said, is the result of a roughly 20-acre watershed feeding into that one point.
“That watershed goes all the way up to Oldham,” he said.
The primary challenge, he said, is getting approval from the Arkansas Department of Transportation. The trailhead needs to be built in 2018 in case the new trail system starts going in soon, he said, and getting that approval in time may prove difficult.
The project, he said, is expected to cost roughly $295,000. Of that, he said, $236,000 will be covered by a federal Transportation Alternatives Program grant, while the remainder, approximately $60,000, will be covered by the city.
With this culvert — which needs to be tall enough to accommodate people on bikes — Suneson said there should be plenty of space for water to flow.
It will also separate cyclists and hikers accessing trails from drivers on the road, he said, which should prove safer.
“We’re doing it with trail users in mind, but we’re also solving a problem,” Suneson said. “If I can build this to solve this, that’s a big win for vehicular traffic and, again, bicyclist safety.”
A drainage pipe that runs under Riordan Road. This pipe is expected to be replaced with a box culvert for the Riordan trailhead project, which will allow for better drainage and provide trail access.