LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The biggest project in the history of the Arkansas Department of Transportation has reached a major milestone.
Wednesday, ARDOT announced they will start shifting traffic onto the new Interstate-30 River Bridge beginning September 1st.
There will be 3 phases to fully opening the bridge.
Phase one will shift all ramp traffic from northbound Frontage Road to the new bridge.
Phase 2 will start on September 10th when the main lane of I-30 traffic will shift onto the new bridge. While this takes place, westbound traffic will stay on the current river bridge, but eastbound traffic will all be on the new one.
For phase 3, all traffic will completely go to the new bridge, both east and westbound traffic.
According to ARDOT Commissioner Marie Holder, the purpose of this project is to revamp the I-30 corridor of Little Rock and North Little Rock.
“It will improve safety, connectivity, and quality of life to those who live here, those who visit, work here and those who are just passing through,” said Holder.
Following the shift of traffic to the new I-30 River Bridge will start the 10-month, 4-step demolition process of the old bridge.
Keli Wylie, ARDOT’s Alternative Project Delivery Administrator says the first step will be breaking up the concrete deck and hauling off the rubble. This step will be followed by cutting and removing the structural steel of the bridge with a crane and taking them to the scrap yard.
Step 3 with to break up the pilers left sticking out of the Arkansas River and haul off debris. And the fourth and final step will be to blast the piers under the water line to remove the last of the bridge showing from the river.
Construction has brought many detours and coming up this weekend there will be another.
It will be on I-40 eastbound heading towards West Memphis where drivers swerving has been an issue as drivers have to cross over two lanes.
Drivers will be diverted down Interstate-430 eastbound around Interstate-30 and around Interstate-440 said Wylie.
Wylie adds that ARDOT is making corrections so that “once you exit, you will be in your final location to make your move north or continue on to the east.”
The first set of detour signs will be before the I-430 exit on I-40 coming from the Conway area.
Wylie says within 20 years, they expect this project to increase traffic by 23 thousand vehicles a day on the I-30 corridor alone.
The project is expected to be finished by July 2025.
Wylie says they expect the i-30 corridor constriction to be complete by July 2025 costing 633 million dollars.