Interstate 30 widening project moves forward | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Interstate 30 widening project moves forward

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2015 at 6:41 AM

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The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has announced federal approval of the first study phase of the project to widen Interstate 30 in downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock.

The Federal Highway Administration has accepted as complete a year-long planning and environmental study.

Here's the full study. (Link corrected.) Further environmental reviews are the next step on a project that could begin construction in 2018. It includes replacement of the existing I-30 bridge over the Arkansas River. The project is to be paid by a 10-year sales tax approved by voters for highway work. It is apart from ongoing discussions on shoring up highway money because of flat fuel tax revenues. The only question on that, really, is whether road users will get a fuel tax increase or whether the highway contractors lobby will be successful in depriving other state agencies of general revenue.

Here's the outline of what is now known as the 30 Crossing project:

The alternative being carried forward into the NEPA process, also called the PEL Recommendation, is the 10-lane downtown collector/distributor (CD) alternative. The PEL Recommendation includes five lanes in each direction, with two of the main lanes serving as CD lanes from just south of Broadway Street in North Little Rock to the Highway 10 interchange just north of 3rd Street in Little Rock. CD lanes, which are separated from main lanes by a barrier and connect the main lanes of an Interstate with ramps, operate at lower speeds than main lanes and higher speeds than frontage roads.

The I-30 PEL study determined that this concept would best relieve traffic congestion, improve roadway safety, address structural and functional roadway and bridge deficiencies, and improve water navigation safety. ...

Project-specific determinations, such as interchange design and the location of ramps and interchanges, and a more detailed analysis of potential impacts will be analyzed through the NEPA process. Additional public meetings will be held during NEPA, and the public is encouraged to provide input throughout the process.

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