City of Conway spokesman Bobby M. Kelly III discussed crosswalks and upcoming construction of Donaghey Avenue during a Town Hall meeting at the University of Central Arkansas on Wednesday.
Kelly joined UCA President Houston Davis and Student Government Association (SGA) President Rose McGarrity on a panel to discuss progress and answer questions regarding those issues and more.
Kelly said that Donaghey Avenue is one of the most highly traveled streets in the city with 18,000 people driving it each day on average and the construction will likely inconvenience a lot of people.
“Donaghey isn’t going to be an overlay, it’s going to be a complete rebuild,” he said. “Construction will start over the summer and is expected to take about three years. We know it’s going to affect a lot of people. We want to make it as easy as possible, especially on the student body.”
He said the rebuild of Donaghey Avenue from Dave Ward Drive to Prince Street will be done in phases. The project will add roundabouts at three intersections – Donaghey Avenue and Prince Street, Donaghey and College Avenues and Donaghey Avenue and Caldwell Street.
Conway Corporation has already started the utility work. Davis said he appreciated the city coordinating with Conway Corp to do the project in an order that makes sense.
“They’ve really been working with the team to think about the sequence,” he said. “The last thing we want to do is have the city do something that we know will beautify and make that corridor much safer, more pedestrian-friendly and then have Conway Corp have to come in six months later and dig it up to do utility work.”
In addition to the roundabouts, the project will add sidewalks, crosswalks and bicycle tracks.
Davis said he was happy to see the pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly additions.
“One thing I’m excited about with the Donaghey corridor is we will have sidewalks all the way from College Avenue all the way to Dave Ward,” he said.
“Sidewalks that are connected,” Kelly added drawing a round of applause from the students gathered.
Kelly said the city switched from using paint in crosswalks to using thermo-reflective plastic.
“It’s a game changer,” he said.
McGarrity said being able to more clearly see pedestrians in the crosswalks has been a concern for students and she’s glad to see the extra safety measures.
“There are a lot of students who cross Donaghey Avenue at night,” she said.
Kelly said he was glad to see so many of the UCA community attend the Town Hall.
“Donaghey is a front door to the campus,” he said. “It’s a lifeline for the city.”