Will Interstate 40, between North Little Rock and West Memphis, be under construction forever? | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Will Interstate 40, between North Little Rock and West Memphis, be under construction forever?

Posted By on Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 5:09 PM

click image NEW WEB AHTD WEB APP: All that orange is road construction. Click on the image to go to the new idrivearkansas.com site.
  • NEW WEB AHTD WEB APP: All that orange is road construction. Click on the image to go to the new idrivearkansas.com site.

Pretty much. According to the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department’s Danny Straessle, that entire stretch of interstate is due for rehabilitation or replacement in projects scheduled to run through 2027. The work is part of the AHTD’s Interstate Rehabilitation Program. Voters approved the Arkansas Highway Commission to issue bonds to pay for the program in 2011.

The work between North Little Rock and West Memphis won’t be done all at once, of course. Straessle said the AHTD is balancing it with projects on all of the interstates that come through Arkansas. “We’ll do one project in east Arkansas, one project in west Arkansas, one on I-30 and one on I-55, and then when those are over or almost complete we’ll start another one.”
That’s not all the AHTD has in the works. The Connecting Arkansas Program is a $1.8 billion project to build and expand highways throughout the state funded by a temporary half-cent sales tax approved by voters last year. It’ll run for as many 10 years.

That’s a lot of construction — and potential construction delays. But now there’s a (web) app for that. The AHTD recently unveiled a new website that features a map of road construction, traffic congestion and weather conditions. idrivearkansas.com is a responsive site, which means it fits whatever size screen you’re viewing it and works just as well whether you’re on a desktop computer or mobile phone. It allows users to zoom into specific areas and toggle between which map features display. The site was built using Google Maps Engine and uses Google’s traffic layer for its real-time traffic updates. (Google gets traffic information from the “anonymized” data most GPS-enabled phones transmit; Straessle said AHTD doesn’t track people).

The new website is only the beginning of AHTD’s plans. A native app is coming. “Hopefully, we can begin development within the next year,” Straessle said. The department also hopes to add a function that will suggest alternate routes to drivers with turn-by-turn directions, to integrate a winter road conditions map into the site and add live feeds from AHTD’s video cameras.

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