CONWAY, Ark. — Getting across Dave Ward Drive, can be a nightmare for University of Central Arkansas students – like Brittany Phillips. "Dave Ward is a little bit of a problem," says Brittany Phillips, a UCA student."Sections of it don’t even have sidewalks, or shoulders, or lights."
On any given day – Philllips commutes across busy Dave Ward Drive to campus. "I figured I’d just go as soon as all the left turning people go, and then it’s just get across as fast as you can," says Phillips.
But by this time next year – City of Conway officials say Phillips pedestrian nightmare might be a thing of the past. "We were recently awarded a more than $1-million dollar grant, to build a pedestrian bridge here," says City of Conway spokeswoman, Melissa Gates.
The city says the project will cost around $3 million dollars – with additional funds coming from the Arkansas Department of Transportation, Metroplan and UCA – helping the more than 450 students who live at a nearby student housing complex. "It will connect a new housing division on the south side of Dave Ward Drive to the north side of Dave Ward Drive where the main campus is," says Gates.
With several trails near the road – city officials hope it will make it safer for joggers, exercisers and bicyclists. "Currently there are only two pedestrian crossings and you’ll have to cross on the road itself," says Gates.
While Phillips recalls a scary fall in the middle of the street."And I just went straight over in the middle of traffic, during rush hour, laying their on the ground having to pick all my stuff up," says Phillips.
She’s hoping the new bridge will make it just a little easier to get to class. "There’s a lot of us and it will definitely be a blessing to many of us that need to get across there," says Phillips.
Construction is set to start soon – and should be completed in 2019.