Traffic flow between Jefferson and just south of the Pulaski County line on Interstate 530 will be slowed beginning Friday with a closure of northbound lanes and shift onto the southbound side.

Traffic flow between Jefferson and just south of the Pulaski County line on Interstate 530 will be slowed beginning Friday with a closure of northbound lanes and shift onto the southbound side.

Glenn Bolick of White Hall, spokesman for the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, said once the northbound traffic enters the southbound side, one lane of traffic will be maintained in each direction. The lane merger is in accordance with a $26-million reconstruction project between exits 15 and 24. The estimated completion for this section is late 2013.

Bolick said placement of concrete median barrier walls began last week and temporary access ramps have been constructed at the Redfield and Jefferson interchanges. Also, the contractor – Interstate Highway Construction Inc. – was completing preliminary work to allow the shift.

The shift and merger will prompt a speed limit reduction, Bolick stressed.

“There will be an increase in the presence of law enforcement,” in the area for an unspecified time, he said, adding that the speed limit will be “strictly enforced.”

Bolick said motorists will need to practice “full responsibility for safety in their driving” through the area. He said Jefferson and Grant county residents who travel the interstate to-and-from their Little Rock and other Pulaski County jobs should remember they’ll be “traveling through someone else’s work site.”

“That includes me,” he said. “We’ll all need to be alert to the safety of the reconstruction workers.”

Bolick also cautioned that motorists who’ll be pulling boats or other trailers through the area should be “extra careful not to hit the concrete barrier.” He said all drivers should practice “patience” while traveling in the section.

Once reconstruction is completed in the northbound lanes, the southbound side will close and the shift and merge procedure will be reversed.

According to Bolick, the total reconstruction includes “the removal of all the old concrete and asphalt pavements” and “improvements to the subgrade and base,” which will be replaced with a new “Portland cement” concrete pavement.

Three other reconstruction efforts are tentatively scheduled as part of the 2011 Interstate Rehabilitation Program. The next section – from the northern end of this first job for 7.5 miles to Bingham Road in Pulaski County – will overlap with this segment. An 8.8-mile section form Bingham Road to Interstate 30 in Little Rock is tentatively scheduled for the spring of 2014. A final section for 6.1 miles from Jefferson to Highway 104 is slated for early 2015.