LITTLE ROCK — State highway officials Wednesday urged motorists to be patient and use caution during the holidays while driving through construction on the Interstate 630/I-430 interchange, the state's busiest with about 200,000 vehicles a day.
LITTLE ROCK — State highway officials Wednesday urged motorists to be patient and use caution during the holidays while driving through construction on the Interstate 630/I-430 interchange, the state’s busiest with about 200,000 vehicles a day.
Highway construction crews are in the middle of a $125 million upgrade of the “Big Rock” interchange in west Little Rock that began in 2009 and is expected to be completed in 2014.
“We continue to ask people to be a little patient,” state Highway Director Scott Bennett said during a news conference to update reporters on the status of the project. “There is still a lot of work that needs to be done.”
Bennett said current traffic patterns through the interchange — including the one northbound lane on Shackelford Road — will remain in place through at least the end of the year.
“That traffic pattern will stay the same, most likely through the holiday season … and no other major changes of traffic patterns are really expected until next summer,” Bennett said.
The director of the state Highway and Transportation Department also said a committee, which includes a number of state and local officials as well as several agencies, is monitoring the traffic patterns during the construction to make sure vehicles move through the area as smoothly as possible.
“We know there is still going to be congestion there, that’s going to happen,” Bennett said. “There was congestion there before any of this work ever started and I think if you drive through there you can see that the work that is going on is going to make a difference. You can see the progress being made.”
Updates on the project, including any changes in traffic patterns, are now available on the department’s website, as is a video showing what the project will look like when completed, Bennett said.
The project, named “Big Rock” because of a large sandstone rock formation recently discovered while tearing down a hill to build a new lane to Baptist Health hospital, will include elevated, or “flyover,” ramps between the two interstates to replace the existing exit and entrance loops and a ramp over Shackelford Road for traffic between Financial Center Parkway and I-630.
It also will include expanding to eight lanes I-630 to John Barrow Road, and rebuilding the I-430 overpass so it can accommodate a wider I-630 underneath.