Highway widening prediction: $4 billion will be needed in future | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Highway widening prediction: $4 billion will be needed in future

Posted By on Thu, Oct 15, 2015 at 5:23 PM

click to enlarge Jerry Holder, CAP manager and director of Garver Engineers.
  • Jerry Holder, CAP manager and director of Garver Engineers.
The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department's Connecting Arkansas Program manager Jerry Holder, who is director of Garver Engineers, reviewed the work done so far on the highway department's $500 million plan to widen Interstate 30 to 10 lanes for Metroplan's Regional Planning Advisory Council today, and this is what the council heard from Metroplan:

Their analysis shows that to prevent bottlenecks caused by the flow of cars through the expanded I-30 on other portions of interstates in Central Arkansas, those freeways will have to be widened to eight lanes, at a cost of $4 billion

Casey Covington of Metroplan stood to relay that fact after Coreen Frasier, a member of the regional council, asked Holder, "Aren't we just moving bottlenecks to other places" by widening six to seven miles of Interstate 30? "It doesn't seem sensible to do a 10-lane smooth out" and ignore the effect increased traffic would have further down the road, she said. 

Holder said bottlenecks would be caused "maybe, if you only did [the I-30 widening]." But, he added, "we have 20 years to work with Jim [McKenzie of Metroplan]" to make such improvements as HOT (High Occupancy Toll) lanes to Conway (for example) and other improvements, he said. "Somewhere along the way, innovative improvements may have to happen."

(He actually doesn't have 20 years to work with McKenzie; the Metroplan executive director will retire next year.)

Council member Carolyn Shearman asked about the recent revelation that the new Cantrell-I-30 interchange would require the River Rail trolley to stop on the west side of the I-30, rather than continue, as it does today, to Heifer International and the Clinton Center. Holder acknowledged that the "single point urban interchange" plan would indeed cut off access to River Rail lines east of the interstate, and that Jarod Varner, director of the Rock Region Metro (formerly CATA), had asked the CAP project to consider an option that would reroute the rails east of 30.

Kathleen Lambert, noting that the AHTD "speed profiles" show traffic flowing unimpeded in 2041 on the 10-lane section, wondered if the interstate would be empty for many years after the scheduled 2020 completion date. An engineer with consultants CH2M said the I-30 bridge needed to be built to last 50 years, hence the build-out to 2041, and yes, there would be years when traffic was light.

She also asked if engineers had taken into account new technologies that might reduce vehicular traffic and the need for 10 lanes. Holder said she raised a good point about technology, and said it was possible that a lane could be dedicated for driverless cars — which is not the same thing as saying perhaps 10 lanes aren't needed.

Patrick Stair of the Sierra Club asked if the AHTD couldn't focus on improving arterials first, which could preclude the need for widening the interstate. Holder, perhaps misunderstanding Stair's question, interpreted him to be saying that he wanted to keep people from stopping in Little Rock. He said that without a wider interstate, Little Rock would die. "A robust arterial is good, but you've got to get  the backbone in first," he told Stair. 

Holder said that while the CAP's Planning and Environmental Linkage process recommended the 10 lanes, "speed profiles" also would be run on an 8-lane option. 

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (14)

Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Fayetteville, Fenix and art-making on Saturday

    If you're in Fayetteville this weekend, you can drop in on several workshops being held by the Fenix Fayetteville artists' cooperative at the Walker-Stone House, 207 W. Center St. downtown.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • UALR artist Mia Hall is off to Penland: UPDATE

    The Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina has announced the hiring of Mia Hall, of the Department of Art and Design at UA Little Rock, as its new director.
    • Jul 19, 2017
  • ACLU asks court to enjoin antiabortion bills

    Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union asked Judge Kristine Baker to grant an injunction against four laws passed this year by the General Assembly that would: * Make abortion after 15 weeks riskier by outlawing what the medical profession considers the safest procedure, dilation and evacuation; * Require doctors to inform local police when an abortion performed on a teenager age 14-16 absent any indication of abuse and that police create a record of the teenager's abortion and be provided the fetal remains; * Require abortion providers to ask women seeking an abortion if they know the sex of the fetus, and, if they do, obtain all of their previous obstetrical records to determine if they have a "history of aborting fetuses" of a certain sex, as the lawyer for the state said today in court. * Require notification of a woman's partner — or abuser — that she intends to have an abortion, ostensibly so they can agree on the disposition of the remains of the fetus.
    • Jul 13, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation