New truck route, glass recycling test approved by Fort Smith Board

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 783 views 

The Fort Smith Board of Directors passed resolutions at its regular meeting Tuesday (May 21) that makes a significant truck bypass route in downtown Fort Smith and adds glass recycling to the city’s solid waste collection.

Directors unanimously approved an ordinance that immediately relocates the truck route from North Fifth Street to North Fourth Street between North H Street and North P Street on the northside of the downtown area.

The route change aims to redirect truck traffic away from residential neighborhoods and onto streets more suited for industrial use, enhancing safety and reducing noise and congestion in the affected areas, according to the city.

Completing this work allows for the relocation of truck traffic from a residential neighborhood to a street that is predominantly industrial, noted a memo from Matt Meeker, director of streets & traffic control.

“While (the) improvements allow for the immediate relocation of truck traffic, the department still recommends future widening improvements on North Fourth Street and a roadway realignment from Division Street to North Fourth Street, to better accommodate this change,” Meeker said.

Directors also suggested that bigger truck route signs be installed to better indicate the new route.

The board also unanimously approved an ordinance setting up a glass recycling pilot program for residents of the city. Glass recycling will be available to Fort Smith residents who want it for a $7 per month charge.

The department received funding from the Sebastian County Regional Solid Waste Management District (SCRSWMD) for the purchase of 110 specialized recycling carts, said Nicole Riley, the city’s solid waste services director.

The program will operate with the intent of evaluating community interest and the feasibility of glass recycling under operational capacities, using existing staff, vehicles, and trailers, Riley said in a memo. No initial program revenues are identified and anticipated due to low material value – about 1 cent per pound – of recycled glass, Riley said.

“The current recycling facility (Birch Recycling) does not accept glass due to the absence of necessary processing equipment and the significant wear and tear glass places on Material Recovery Facility (MRF) equipment,” Riley said in the memo. “The most effective method for recycling glass is through source separation, which this pilot aims to implement and assess.”

The city-wide program is set to start July 1 and last for six months. Participation in the program is completely voluntary; residents will be invited to sign up for the program, she said. Each participating resident will be provided with a 100-liter recycling cart with a purple lid clearly labeled “Glass Only”. Residents will contact the Department by phone or e-mail to schedule pickup when their cart is full, ensuring efficient collection and recycling.

Riley said the program would reduce landfill waste, conserve natural resources, and lower energy consumption in new glass production. Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity, she said.