Randy Ort of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Commission
will meet with members of the Coalition of Greater Little Rock Neighborhoods
and other interested parties at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Hinton Resource Center, 12th and Pine streets, on the highway department's plan to widen I-630 and portions of I-30.
There is concern among coalition members that the widening could threaten the historic nature of downtown neighborhoods. Surveyors are said to have begun putting stakes in the ground in the historic Hanger Hill neighborhood east of I-30.
The highway department's Connecting Arkansas Program has information on the widening plans, which would include work on I-630 from Baptist Hospital to its interchange with I-30
and I-30 from its interchange with I-40 in North Little Rock to I-530 on the south.
Some contend, as does Trails of Arkansas author Johnnie Chamberlain
, that widening interstates only increases traffic problems. As an alternative, some members of the coalition would like to see a bridge constructed over the Arkansas River at Chester Street, which according to the coalition is supported by Metroplan as a way to reduce the widening of I-30 from 10 lanes to eight.