Since its construction in 2011, users of the South Bentonville Trail faced a great challenge crossing SE Walton Boulevard, a major arterial into Bentonville that carries an average of 35,000 cars per day. Trail users have shown a tendency to completely avoid this intersection altogether due to its dangerous nature. When the trail was connected to the 36-mile Razorback Greenway system, a huge increase in use made crossing an even greater issue.
The Bentonville/Bella Vista Trailblazers Association (BBVTB) worked with Alta to find a solution, studying the intersection as well as the south side of Bentonville for additional trail linkages. The team determined that while an at-grade crossing would be difficult, a pedestrian tunnel could be accomplished within budget. Following the study, the BBVTB received a grant from the Walton Family Foundation for Alta to begin the survey, design, engineering, permitting and easement procurement process for building a tunnel.
The 80-foot tunnel was constructed with a 12’ x 10’ concrete precast box culvert, using a 110-ton crane to set them in place. To limit traffic impacts during construction, the tunnel was installed over two consecutive weekends per local DOT and City requirements.