With the award of a $500,000 Compatible Use Implementation contract to the Matrix Design Group in July, White Hall is one step closer to improvements on Hoadley Road.
"The contract is valued at $500,000 and was made possible by a grant from the Department of Defense Office of Local Defense Community Corp. (of Crystal City, Va.), and matching funds from the Governor's Military Affairs Grant Program," said Larry Wright, consulting engineer for the City of White Hall and the grant project manager.
The Matrix Design Group is based out of Crofton, Md., and it also includes a subcontract for access road design services by McClelland Engineers of Little Rock.
The area under consideration for improvements is about a two mile stretch of Arkansas Highway 256, also marked Hoadley Road, from the Pine Bluff Arsenal Plainview Gate to where the road intersects with Dollarway Road in White Hall, said White Hall Mayor Noel Foster.
The contract will address several implementation tasks, including an access enhancement design of Highway 256, and the development of new Geographic Information Systems mapping overlays of the area.
As well, it will include the preparation of a compatible economic development assessment report, and the development of memoranda of agreements between the Pine Bluff Arsenal and state and local agencies.
There are also "suggested updates to plans and regulations for compatible development," Wright said.
In an effort to better support the Arsenal's mission and offer better access to the post, the city of White Hall is "currently evaluating options for access road and Caney Creek bridge enhancements," Wright said.
This will consider possible alternative road improvements and bridge upgrade or replacement.
"We are planning on a January 2022, public forum to present the preferred alternatives for access road upgrade," Wright said.
The ultimate goal of this project is to turn the Pine Bluff Arsenal's Plainview Gate into a commercial and employee vehicle entrance and exit.
There are approximately 740 civil and military employees working on the Arsenal property, with about 11,000 tons of shipments passing through the gates annually.
Currently, the Dexter Gate entrance is the only one that can be used by commercial vehicles but a railroad crossing near that gate is considered a hazard, Foster said.
The Plainview entrance is considered safer because an elevated viaduct for vehicles crosses over the tracks.
But Hoadley Road brings its own obstacles, Foster said.
The two-lane road has narrow shoulders, and there's a small, old bridge, number 2280, that crosses Caney Bayou, which would probably be demolished.
It was built just before or in conjunction with the construction of the Arsenal, and at that time, it was an important access point.
The bridge probably couldn't support modern commercial weight requirements. This area is also prone to flooding.
Design plans will look at replacing the old bridge over Caney Bayou, as well as possibly elevating the road in certain places and reinforcing its ability to carry heavier weight loads such as commercial delivery vehicles.
The Hoadley Road renovations "would benefit commercial and employee vehicles," Wright said earlier this spring in an article in The Commercial.
View Original Article here: https://www.nwaonline.com/news/2021/oct/06/hoadley-road-plan-advances/