Marion mayor offers update on overpass
Project moving slow, still a go, says Fogleman
email@example.com Marion Mayor Frank Fogleman says he knows the status of the Marion railroad overpass is on everyone's mind. The longin- the-works project is planned to extend L.H.
Polk Drive east behind the Walmart Neighborhood Market and then swing north to connect Highway 77 with the River Trace subdivision on the northeast end of the city.
Fogleman recently offered a closer look at the project in “an attempt to provide an update as clearly and concisely as possible.”
“The Marion overpass funding is a fixed dollar amount composed of federal grant money or ‘earmarks’ and city bond money,” said Fogleman.
“The special election for the Bond Issue was March 14, 2017. A total of 534 votes were cast for the Street Improvement Bond, 432 for and 102 against.”
There are many moving parts to the project.
“Due to the involvement of federal funds, the Federal Highway Administration appointed Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) as the agent to direct every aspect of the project to completion,” the mayor explained. “Parsons Transport Group was hired to design the overpass and connecting street and because of the involvement of federal funds, federal standards had to be met.
Plans were submitted for comments and approval to ARDOT at specific intervals. The complete structural and street design plans and the right-of-way acquisition plans were approved in 2020. Also, BNSF has conditionally agreed to the construction of the overpass.”
There have been some hitches in the process.
“ARDOT was unable to provide the right-of-way
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Marion Mayor Frank Fogleman OVERPASS (cont.)
acquisitions services and as such Universal Field Services, Inc. (USFI) was selected to provided those services upon approval by ARDOT. The city is currently awaiting ARDOT’s approval of the selection of USFI to provide right-ofway acquisition services related to the overpass,” said Fogleman.
The project is still happening, although progress has slowed.
“As soon as the affected property owners have committed to sell, the construction job will go out for bid,” he said. “The bid process and the contract negotiations will be overseen by ARDOT as will every stage of the construction.”
Fogleman added that the project has only recently become a reality, despite being on the board for some time.
“Plans for an overpass have been talked about for years, however, the actual project was not put into motion until the Bond Issue was voted on three years ago,” Fogleman said. “This is a huge, time-consuming and complicated project as well as very expensive.”