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Arkansas transportation officials provide update on 30 Crossing project

A graphic shows a planned closure of Interstate 40 eastbound set for this weekend.
Arkansas Department of Transportation
A graphic shows a planned closure of Interstate 40 eastbound set for this weekend.

Arkansas transportation officials gave an update Wednesday on a $633 million project to widen a busy stretch of Interstate 30 through downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock.

The 30 Crossing project, which began construction in 2020, is expected to hit a number of key milestones in the coming weeks.

Keli Wylie, alternative project delivery administrator for the Arkansas Department of Transportation, says drivers should be aware of a planned closure this weekend of Interstate 40 eastbound through the Interstate 30 interchange in North Little Rock.

“We will divert trucks down Interstate 430, eastbound onto Interstate 30 and around Interstate 440. Of course we know we’re not going to capture everybody at Interstate 430, so we will also have a detour that will direct trucks westbound onto I-30 if they do approach from downtown around to Interstate 440,” Wylie said.

The closure will last from Friday at 10 p.m. to Monday at 5 a.m. Wylie says detour signs will begin on Interstate 40 eastbound before the exit to southbound Interstate 430.

Wylie says a key goal of the project is to eliminate a bottleneck of cars traveling eastbound on Interstate 630 going to eastbound Interstate 30.

“In the p.m. peak, traffic backs up onto 630 because of the merging onto I-30. With this project, we will increase the capacity on that ramp to two lanes from the one that’s currently there. We have also added an exit ramp onto the frontage road there at the interchange, so traffic coming from Interstate 630 or from west Little Rock can exit directly onto the frontage road and access downtown,” Wylie said.

She says the project will also seek to alleviate congestion at the interchange of Interstate 30, Interstate 40 and U.S. Highway 67 in North Little Rock. Lorie Tudor, director of the Department of Transportation, praised construction crews for their work.

“Our contractor team of Kiewit Massman has done a phenomenal job of keeping this project on schedule and progressing the work the way it’s supposed to be, at the same time delivering quality work, a quality project not only in the asphalt, the steel and the concrete, but also in the safety and the maintenance of traffic and their responsiveness to minimize the impacts of this project as much as possible,” Tudor said.

Traffic from downtown Little Rock entering Interstate 30 eastbound will be routed to a newly-constructed bridge over the Arkansas River beginning Sept. 1. All traffic will be shifted to the new bridge by Sept. 17, with demolition of the existing span expected to take about 10 months.

Demolition of the existing Interstate 30 bridge, which opened in 1957, will take place in four parts. The bridge’s concrete deck will first be broken up with excavators, with river barges catching and removing debris. Structural steel will then be removed with a crane, then piers and their foundations in the riverbed will be removed using both explosives and excavators.

Construction is set to be complete on the project by July 2025. More information on the project, as well as planned closures and detours can be found online at 30crossing.com.

Daniel Breen is News Director of Little Rock Public Radio.