What’s been going around will soon be coming around, or something to that effect, along a nine-mile stretch of Interstate 530 between Jefferson and just south of the Pulaski County line, Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department spokesman Glenn Bolick said Wednesday.
Traffic flow has been slowed through the span since May with a closure of northbound lanes and a shift onto the southbound side. By early October, the situation will be reversed, Bolick said.
“I’ll know more about date specifics by either later next week or early the following week,” he said.
Two-way traffic will be functioning on the northbound side when the change occurs. One lane of traffic will be maintained in each direction with concrete barriers separating the lanes. Bolick doesn’t anticipate any closings during the crossover procedure, but said there could be some initial delays of 10-15 minutes.
“Motorists will have to be especially cautious during the crossover,” Bolick said. “They’ll be driving on one side of the barrier wall while equipment is on the other side, picking up and moving barrier sections.”
Some temporary access ramps are also in the works.
The lane merger is in accordance with a $26-million reconstruction project between exits 15 and 24 that has an estimated completion date of late 2013. Interstate Highway Construction Inc. is the project contractor.
“There will be an increase in the presence of law enforcement,” Bolick said. “Motorists will need to practice full responsibility for safety in their driving through the area.”
He said Jefferson and Grant county residents who travel the interstate to and from their Little Rock and other Pulaski County jobs should remember they’ll be motoring through a work site.
“That includes me,” he said. “We’ll all need to be alert to the safety of the construction workers.”
Bolick also cautioned that motorists who’ll be towing boats or other trailers through the area will should be “extra careful not to hit the concrete barrier.” He said all drivers should practice patience while driving in the work section.
According to Bolick, the total reconstruction includes “the removal of all the old concrete and asphalt pavements” and “improvements to the sub-grade and base,” which is being replaced with a new “Portland cement” concrete pavement.
By November, bid-letting will be underway on the next project section, a 7.5-mile span from the northern end of the current job to Bingham Road in Pulaski County.
“The contractor will eventually be tearing out a lane on one side or the other from there,” Bolick said.
Bolick said “mid-November through mid-May” is typically a time when contractors can advance “ahead of schedule” on their works.