The Mayflower City Council approved a resolution to partner with Faulkner County to fund a portion of the Union Pacific overpass project.

The two entities will join Metroplan and the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) on the project, which has been planned for more than two decades and is expected to cost more than $27 million. Mayflower and the county will pay a little less than $2.4 million.

ArDOT will fund more than $15.2 million which includes around $12.2 in federal transportation money and a little more than $3 million in state matching funds.

Metroplan has agreed to contribute $9.46 million, which leaves $2,365,000 for the city/county partnership to pay.

“I think it’s a great partnership,” Metroplan Director Tab Townsell said. “This project would change the face of southwestern Faulkner County and reestablish that intersection as a place of promise.”

The overpass is expected to relieve traffic problems associated with railroad tracks.

Mayor Randy Holland said that because the tracks divide the town – first responders on one side while the local schools and more are on the other – it is a safety hazard. He said traffic is often stopped at the tracks for nearly an hour, which is especially problematic in an emergency situation.

Additionally, overpasses eliminate the risk of train-vehicle collisions at crossings.

Earlier this month, the Faulkner County Quorum Court approved a resolution to partner with Mayflower after Townsell explained the need for urgency.

The ArDOT and Metroplan money have to obligated by September. The agencies committed to funding the lion’s share of the project with the understanding that Mayflower, with help from the county, would contribute the almost $2.4 million.

David Hogue, who is the civil attorney for both the city of Mayflower and the county, said he wants to ensure the partnership doesn’t put a financial strain on either of his clients.

The resolution didn’t dictate how much each entity would contribute; however, Holland and Faulkner County Judge Jim Baker both said the county would likely put in around $1.5 million and the city would pay around $900,000.

The project is scheduled for 2020.