I-530 lane shift slated to start Monday

Barring a rain delay, the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department’s lane change between exits 15 and 24 on Interstate 530 will begin Monday afternoon, according to Glenn Bolick, the agency’s spokesman.

Interstate Highway Construction Inc., the project contractor, will be moving the concrete barriers from the southbound side to the northbound lanes, Bolick said Friday.

“And after about two weeks of that, they will move the southbound traffic over and both lanes will be on the new pavement on the northbound side,” he said.

“Drivers will need to take a little extra precaution during this time,” Bolick continued. “Of course, they will start ripping out the southbound side after that.”

Traffic flow has been slowed through the nine-mile span since May. Two-way traffic will be functioning on the northbound side when the current change occurs. Bolick doesn’t anticipate any closings during the crossover procedure, but said there could be some initial delays of 10-15 minutes.

Some temporary access ramps are also in the works.

“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 jobs in Little Rock and Pulaski County 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 boat or other trailers through the area should be “extra careful not to hit the concrete barrier.”

The lane merger is in accordance with a $26-million reconstruction project that has an estimated completion date of late 2013. Bolick said the project includes “the removal of all the old concrete and asphalt pavements” and “improvements to the sub-grade and base.”

By next month, 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 of the other from there,” said Bolick.