No moratorium on I-30, Bennett says | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, October 29, 2015

No moratorium on I-30, Bennett says

Posted By on Thu, Oct 29, 2015 at 12:24 PM

click to enlarge The "Cantrell Interchange" that would make Chester Street one way headed south.
  • The "Cantrell Interchange" that would make Chester Street one way headed south.

State Highway and Transportation Department Director Scott Bennett has rejected the Downtown Little Rock Partnership's request for a moratorium on the 30 Crossing project to expand I-30 through Little Rock to 10 lanes, writing DLRP Director Gabe Holmstrom today that extending the comment period "is more appropriate" than a moratorium. The comment period, which was to expire Nov. 6, will now be Dec. 4. 

Perhaps Bennett is hoping that the extra 30 days will bring a flood of letters in support of the widening project. So far, support for the project is hard to find.

Bennett also sent a letter to City Manager Bruce Moore notifying him of the extended deadline and said the department would like to present the plan to the City Board of Directors at its meeting next Tuesday, Nov. 3, to clear up "confusion in the public dialogue about a number of the project's proposed elements." City Director Kathy Webb has said she is prepared to offer a resolution expressing opposition to the 10-lane project.
Bennett seems to be a prickly sort who really doesn't like Little Rock, judging by his weekend Twitter posts and today's quoted remarks in John Brummett's column in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: that the people here "want to force people to move back" to Little Rock by rejecting a 10-lane thruway that would allow people to whiz by town during rush hour.

Hey — bringing people to Little Rock sounds like a good idea to most people. The AHTD, apparently, wants people to be able get the hell out of Dodge as fast as possible. (Bennett lives in Bryant, so he won't be able to speed away until the department widens the western stretch of I-30 through his hometown. However, if the widened section downtown is to function the way the AHTD wants it to, the western stretch of I-30 will have to be widened as well, as a Metroplan spokesman noted last week in describing what it will take to prevent bottlenecks away from the 10-lane segment of interstate.)

Little Rock people do want an escape of a sort. That is, folks who work downtown but live in the central and northwest part of the city — the Heights, Cammack Village, Kingwood and out Highway 10 — would like to be able go home after work. However, here the Highway Department has another idea, one I overlooked in my previous examination of the AHTD's suggestion of turning Second and Fourth streets into one-way, 3-lane state highways to get traffic on and off I-30 at the "Cantrell Interchange." In response to a request from the city to figure out a way to solve the problem of the unsafe intersection at Markham, Clinton Avenue, Cumberland Street and LaHarpe, the AHTD proposes to a) close Cumberland from Markham to Third so there would be no access to LaHarpe from the I-30 exit, b) direct traffic west on Second to State Street, which would become a northbound one-way to LaHarpe and change Chester Street into a southbound one-way from La Harpe to I-630, for traffic coming from the west to downtown.

Wait! You mean you take Chester Street to take La Harpe/Cantrell/Highway 10 home from your downtown office? Well, the latest "Cantrell Interchange" option changes that. The only access to La Harpe, under the Second-Fourth street option, is State Street. That's right. All downtown traffic headed northwest would be funneled down State. Where once there were three entries to LaHarpe, there would be one.

That will keep people downtown, all right. Thankfully, this plan seems dead in the water, thanks to complaints from business people who object to losing on-street parking on Second, etc.

Want to send more comments? You can by emailing, calling 501-255-1519, or mailing the Connecting Arkansas Program, re: 30 Crossing, 4701 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock, AR 72118.

ADDITIONALLY FROM MAX: I talked with Bennett this morning. He said it was hard to have a moratorium, or halt to an ongoing project. But he said the department would continue to gather feedback and make changes as needed in the project. He said it all remains open to discussion, including an option of not doing anything at all if consenus can't be reached. He said the department hoped to complete the environmental review process by next summer and then finalize plans for another round of public comments. "We're not shoving this down anyone's throat," he said.

Tags: , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Fountain Fest sculpture reveal tonight at the Arts Center

    You'll have to go to the Arkansas Arts Center's Fountain Fest tonight to see how Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects' winning sketch was carried out as the temporary sculpture in the Carrie Remmel Dickinson fountain. The party, with food, drink and music, gets going at 5:30 p.m.
    • Oct 19, 2017
  • Blue Canoe to open new brewing and gaming space

    Blue Canoe Brewing Co. is opening a 20,000-square-foot brewing and gaming space at 1637 E. 15th St., the old PC Hardware warehouse. Macie Fellows, who described herself as a “brand ambassador,” said the space, which Blue Canoe has remodeled “from the ground up,” will be Blue Canoe’s primary brewery.
    • Oct 11, 2017
  • Apartment project announced for SoMa

    The Lasiter Group announced today that it will build a 35-unit apartment complex in the 1300 block of Scott Street called the Villa View. The development, on the west side of Scott, will face the historic Villa Marre. The project should be complete by the end of 2018.
    • Oct 6, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016
  • Deputy killed, police chief wounded in Sebastian County. Suspect in custody

    40/29 TV reports that two law officers were shot about 7 a.m. today near Hackett in Sebastian County and at mid-afternoon came word that one of them had died. Later in the day a suspect was taken into custody in the shooting.
    • Aug 10, 2016
  • Another Republican miracle-working governor

    Great piece in Washington Post on the budget crisis in Louisiana. Big tax cuts and corporate welfare will do that to a state, particularly to a state whose previous governor, Republican Bobby Jindal, refused to join the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion. There's a lesson there for Arkansas.
    • Mar 4, 2016

Most Shared

  • Discussion: State killing of the mentally ill

    The Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and others will have a forum on mental illness and the death penalty at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Bowen School of Law's Friday Courtroom.

Most Viewed

  • Dear Little Rock,

    This is not a love letter, Little Rock, though we do love you. This is an intervention.
  • The Monday Democrat-Gazette was slimmer this morning

    Did your Monday morning Arkansas Democrat-Gazette include a business section?
  • Criticism arises on Hutchinson appointee to dental board

    Criticism has arisen of Gov. Asa Hutchinson for not taking a Dental Association recommendation for a dental regulatory board appointment and appointing instead someone with a record of dental practice violations in the early 1990s.
  • Sabin raises $100,000 for mayor's race

    Michael Cook, a political consultant, has issued a news release saying state Rep. Warwick Sabin has raised $100,000 for his race for Little Rock mayor against incumbent Mayor Mark Stodola.
  • Hog football: The lawyers take over

    If you believe social media, it's all over but the post-season buyout for Razorback football coach Bret Bielema. That means, in turn, that the issue of what the coach's contract buyout is worth is not just an academic question.

Most Recent Comments



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