The speed limit is being reduced and concrete barriers are going up along a 2.2-mile stretch of Interstate 630 in Little Rock. Unless the weather causes delays, lanes will be closed beginning Monday night to prepare for the placement of concrete safety barriers along the stretch of the interstate between University Avenue and John Barrow Road.
Danny Straessle, spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Transportation, said the speed limit along the corridor will be reduced to 50 mph for the duration of the two-year project. Additional cameras have been installed to allow people to monitor traffic conditions online at I Drive Arkansas before beginning their commutes.
"The idea is that you look at this before you leave in the morning to go to school or go to work and make an informed decision," Straessle said. "Do I want to go down 630 through the work zone, where the speed limit's been reduced to 50 miles an hour, and there are a couple of lane shifts and everybody's trying to get through or do I want to take an alternate route?"
Mike Hood with Little Rock's Public Works Department said the possible alternate routes of 12th Street, Markham Street, and Cantrell Road are not expected to see a significant increase in traffic during the project because most construction is scheduled for nighttime and off-peak hours.
In addition to more traffic congestion during construction hours, the increase in noise levels for neighborhoods immediately north and south of the interstate in the construction zone is expected to be significant. Noise barriers have been erected in areas where residents approved them.
The $87.4 million dollar project is being funded by a 10-year, half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2012.