An approximately half-mile section of Interstate 30 in downtown Little Rock will be closed and will require detours all next weekend to accommodate work on the nearly $ 1 billion 30 Crossing project. dollars.
Detours on the feeder roads between East Sixth Street and Interstate 630 will begin at 10 p.m. Friday and last until 5 a.m. Monday to allow the contractor to remove the East Ninth Street overpass to replace it, announced the Arkansas Department of Transportation last week.
About 115,000 vehicles travel through this section daily, according to agency data. But traffic is generally lighter on weekends.
If the closure goes as planned – it depends on the weather – it will be the third time this year that the Department of Transportation has closed a freeway in central Arkansas to accommodate construction work, testifying to the complexity of the work. projects.
“Freeway closures are one of the most critical phases of a major improvement project,” said Marie Holder, member of the Arkansas Highway Commission from Little Rock. “Our teams plan these events when we hope to have the least impact on the traveling public and the most impact on the amount of work that can be done.”
The Interstate 630 eastbound exit ramp to eastbound I-30 will also be closed throughout the weekend, the department said.
Detours for I-30 traffic involve frontage roads that run along both sides of the interstate freeway.
Eastbound traffic from I-30 will take the exit ramp to East Sixth and East Ninth streets to the front road and use the Sixth Street slip road to return to I-30, according to a press release. Westbound I-30 traffic will take the East Sixth Street ramp (Exit 140B) to the front road and use the South East Ninth Street ramp back to I-30.
Drivers will not have to pass traffic lights.
“It is understood that this is an inconvenience for the motorist,” said Lt. Brad Perkins of the Arkansas Traffic Police, who coordinates traffic incident management for the department. “Feeder roads will be closed to all cross traffic, so feeder roads will be dedicated only to interstate detour traffic.
“Detour traffic should not stop for any reason on feeder roads. This will help maintain a constant flow of traffic. In addition, this detour is for a short distance, less than [one-half] mile.”
Closing the freeway and rerouting traffic was the best option to get the job done and keep the traffic going at the same time, he said.
“A lot of discussion and planning has taken place to keep the most efficient traffic detour available for this particular location,” Perkins said in an email. “Since the 9th Street viaduct is due to be demolished, this was the only practical option.”
Traffic from I-630 eastbound to I-30 eastbound will take I-30 westbound to Interstate 440 and return to I-30 if necessary, said the Department.
During this work, the I-630 eastbound exit ramp to I-30 eastbound will also be closed. Detour map NR 21-208-B contains additional information.
Planning and coordination extended far beyond the contractor and department staff, Perkins said.
“The planning steps for these interstate lane closures are a coordinated effort of ARDOT engineers, contractor, law enforcement (Arkansas Highway Police and State Police of the Arkansas) and city planners, if traffic plans will affect the city’s traffic flow, ”mentioned.
It also extends to all first responders.
“Once it has been determined that closing the freeway and rerouting traffic is the best option to use, a meeting with all emergency responders in that area is arranged, i.e. ARDOT, Arkansas Highway Police, Arkansas State Police, Little Rock Police Department, Little Rock Fire Department, North Little Rock Police Department, North Little Rock Fire Department, and MEMS, ”he said . “MEMS is distributing this information to all hospitals and ambulance services in the state so that they are informed in case they need to plan their best route to hospitals in the Little Rock area.”
Other highway closures this year included a section of Interstate 430 west of Little Rock to allow for the installation of bridge beams on the Cantrell Road Viaduct.
Eastbound traffic from I-430 has been diverted from the North Rodney Parham Road exit and re-entered Cantrell Road. Westbound I-430 traffic was diverted to the Interstate 40 / Interstate 430 interchange and instructed to consider alternative routes.
The other time the department allowed contractors to close a freeway was in May when a contractor had to tear down the overpass just north of Broadway on I-30 in North Little Rock, according to Perkins.
The 30 Crossing project will widen a 6.7 mile corridor through downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock to 10 lanes between Interstate 530 in Little Rock and Interstate 40 in North Little Rock.
The work includes the replacement of the I-30 bridge over the Arkansas River as well as work on a section of Interstate 40 in North Rock. The replacement of the bridge, the main part of the first phase of 30 Crossing, began late last year.
The department proposes to spend $ 417 million in federal and state transportation funds for the 30 Crossing project over the next four years, according to planning documents for central Arkansas.
None of the money identified in the documents will come from the statewide 0.5% sales tax that voters approved in Amendment 91 to the state constitution in 2012.
The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled on Oct. 29 that the department could not spend Amendment 91 funds on more than four-lane highways, which include the section of I-30 encompassing 30 Crossing.
As the total cost of the 30 Crossing works approaches $ 1 billion, the ministry has identified only enough money to pay the $ 638 million the first phase would cost.
“We don’t like closures, but we like progress,” Holder said. “I am delighted to see the great progress that has been made on this project. The increased capacity, safety, efficiency and aesthetics of 30 Crossing will be a huge source of pride for central Arkansas.”