Phoenix Avenue Overpass Marks 10 Years of Connecting Russellville and Enhancing Emergency Response


Phoenix Avenue Overpass over the Union Pacific Railroad in Russellville reached its 10-year milestone this June. The City’s roadway infrastructure had caused various gridlocks for years, and the overpass was necessary to help alleviate these issues. Additionally, the overpass provided active transportation options for residents and greater connectivity to local outdoor amenities. Our team coordinated with the City to oversee the project from the feasibility study phase through the engineering design and construction phase. The result of the overpass had a significant positive impact at the intersection and improved citywide traffic circulation.

phoenix overpass' proximity to st. mary's hospital decreases response time

Before the addition of Phoenix Avenue overpass to Russellville, the intersection of the City’s arterial roadways and railroad tracks had been “chronic congestion areas for decades,” Russellville Fire Marshal Richard Setian said.  “The flow of traffic moving north or south via Phoenix Avenue was always at risk for delays.” This traffic congestion also led to delays in emergency services because of the stalled trains that were typical at the intersection.


The first stage of the Phoenix Overpass project began with a feasibility study to assess the project and decide the next steps for implementation. The feasibility study included looking at the option of constructing an underpass instead of an overpass. Due to the fact that the Union Pacific rail lines could not be closed, the underpass option would have required tunneling under the active railroad, in addition to the installation of a stormwater pumping system to keep the passageway clear during rain events. These additional cost considerations made the selection of an overpass bridge the best option.

The overpass replaced the existing at-grade Union Pacific railroad crossing to allow access to St. Mary's Hospital and added additional infrastructure for residents, including a three-lane travelway, bike lanes, sidewalks, roadway lighting, and decorative bridge features. The project featured hybrid steel plate girders, over 33,000 square feet of mechanically stabilized earth retaining walls, and decorative steel Zephyr train locomotive railings.


After the project was completed, Setian said that the City experienced “a real opening up and circulation benefit for residents and visitors alike,” now that residents could access local grocery stores, medical facilities, and the Arkansas Tech campus more quickly. The overpass provides pedestrians and bicyclists access to Bona Dea Trails. That was just one aspect of connectivity, though. 

“The Phoenix Overpass' most significant impact has been the allowance of ambulances to easily access, without delay, St. Mary's Emergency Department along with reducing the Engine 3 response time from the north to the west and south portions of Russellville.”

Richard Setian

Fire Marshal
Russellville, Arkansas

Three main arterial roadways, North Elmira Avenue, North Arkansas Avenue, and North Phoenix Avenue had been areas of significant delay due to stalled trains. The installation of Phoenix Avenue overpass helped alleviate these issues while also implementing additional transportation options. For the past decade, this project has improved connectivity and eased congestion at this vital thoroughfare and will continue serving Russellville in the decades ahead.

overpass decreases congestion while improving connectivity

overpass decreases congestion while improving connectivity