Sheaff Avenue in Bryant was officially opened on Thursday following a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by city officials, employees and local residents.
The road connects Springhill Road on the south side of the overpass at Interstate 30 eastward to Woodland Road.
Monte Ledbetter, public works director for Bryant, says the opening of Sheaff Avenue is the completion of Phase 1 of a project that will eventually provide traffic congestion relief on Stagecoach Road and Reynolds Road, especially during the school year.
"If you think about the traffic pattern on the north side of the city, parents must drive east on Stagecoach and then south on Reynolds Road to reach the main campus location in Bryant," he said. "With the opening of Sheaff Avenue, drivers can cross the interstate at Springhill Road, take this new road east to Woodland Avenue and eventually to Boone Road for access to the schools."
Ledbetter noted that Phase 2 of the project will continue Sheaff Avenue directly eastward to connect with Prickett Road.
"With the continuation of Sheaff Avenue, drivers will be able to access the schools from Prickett Road, a more direct route for school traffic. It will also create a direct access to Reynolds Road at the stoplight with Prickett."
Ledbetter says that right-of-way access is ongoing for Phase 2 and not all of the needed purchases have been made.
Fire Chief J.P. Jordan says the new road will also improve response time for emergencies. "Access to the area near the south end of Springhill Road is improved with this new road. Before it opened, we would have to cross the interstate to get to certain areas because of the one-way service roads."
At the ribbon cutting ceremony for Sheaff Avenue, Mayor Jill Dabbs commended Ledbetter and Glenn Mixon of the city street department for their hard work and dedication in making the street a reality.
In a statement announcing the ribbon cutting ceremony, Dabbs stressed the importance of the new street. "Completing our street grid is key to managing traffic congestion as we continue to grow."
Prior to the ceremony, a commemorative "Sheaff Ave." street sign was available for employees, city officials and residents to sign as a way to mark the occasion.
The name of the street was selected to honor the late Elmer and Ruth Sheaff who owned the land on which the new street runs.