Currently, there is no path from Hot Springs to Little Rock dedicated to pedestrians nor bicyclists. A surge in interest from the public in trails and greenways on existing trails in central Arkansas is creating a large demand for a trail to connect Hot Springs National Park with the Arkansas River Trail system. The 60-mile trail will provide a safe route for pedestrians and bicyclists to enjoy outdoor recreation while simultaneously providing an economic stimulus to Central Arkansas.
Since 2014, the Pulaski, Saline and Garland counties have worked in collaboration to obtain funding to design the Southwest Trail. The design cost is approximately $3.2 million. The counties obtained $2.6 in grant funds; the counties will split the remaining cost. In January 2018, Pulaski County issued a request for qualifications for architect and engineering services for the preliminary design.
In 2018, Garver Engineers was chosen to complete an environmental assessment, assist with public involvement and associated stakeholder meetings.
Pulaski, Saline, and Garland Counties, in coordination with the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), held three public involvement meetings to present and discuss location alternatives for the Southwest Trail.
After the public meetings, the project team has been reviewing and incorporating public input, and revising the proposed trail alignments. Additional environmental studies and design work is taking place. An environmental document will be prepared later this year, followed by a public meeting anticipate in fall 2019 to review the revised alignment and Environmental Assessment document.
A Southwest Trail project update newsletter is available to view and download on the project website. Find out the status of the project study, schedule information, and how to be notified when the next public meeting is scheduled.