The University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees approved a pathway easement to the city of Conway for the construction of a pedestrian bridge over Dave Ward Drive during its regular meeting Friday.

The city requested that UCA grant a pathway easement containing the .845 acres on the university’s side of the road that would be needed for the 14-foot wide bridge.

The project is estimated at a little bit more than $2 million.

Conway Street and Engineering Department Director Finely Vinson said that was exactly what they were waiting on — obligated by the state to do so — and now the right-of-way has been approved by UCA, they colleced the proper documents to submit it to the state for approval. He said when that is approved they can move forward with the project and start construction hopefully early 2018.

Vinson said the idea for the bridge came as a result of the Stone Dam Creek Trail, which is on both sides of Dave Ward Drive.

"[It’s a] pretty significant distance for a pedestrian or cyclist to walk," he said.

Vinson said the overpass is needed to connect the trail and to provide Conway residents safe passage across the road while providing another amenity to the city’s trail system and a safe route to school for a significant amount of UCA students who live on the south side of Dave Ward.

"We are excited to see it happening," he said. "It’s going to be a major safety improvement as well as a significant beautification project for one of the most heavily traveled roadways in Conway."

UCA Associate Vice President of Communications Christina Madsen said the new pedestrian bridge will offer a convenient and safe way for the hundreds of UCA students that live in Bear Village to cross the busy Dave Ward Drive.

"We have been working closely with the city on the design of the bridge and gave them input along the way," she said. "In the end, we are very pleased with the final design and look forward to having the addition on our campus."