Update on that tunnel to the chamber | Arkansas Blog

Update on that tunnel to the chamber


Heading to the chamber?
  • Heading to the chamber?

Max posted yesterday about Skip Rutherford's tweet saying Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department engineers are pondering building a tunnel under Clinton Avenue to link drivers to La Harpe at the Chamber of Commerce building.

When pigs fly, cars will drive to LaHarpe via a tunnel.

Here is what highway department Benjamin Browning says about Rutherford's tweet:

When the team met recently with urban planners to evaluate the possibilities for improving this interchange, they looked at the following six general possibilities:

· Take pedestrians over

· Take pedestrians under

· Take traffic over

· Take traffic under

· Change the traffic pattern

· Utilize traffic calming with existing pattern

The feasibility of each of these is being evaluated and discussed with stakeholders in Little Rock. Currently nothing has been decided on or committed to by the Department or the stakeholders. 

The cost-conscious highway department already ridiculed the idea of lowering volume on I-30 by building a bridge from Pike Avenue in North Little Rock to Hwy. 10 and Chester Street in Little Rock. Never mind that the 2003 Berger study —  an independent study never adopted by Metroplan but always referred to as a Metroplan idea by the highway department — considered the Pike Avenue extension. Since the highway department always mentions this plan, since it looks at advantages of 10 lanes on I-30, let's look more at what it says about making I-30 eight lanes and building a Pike Avenue extension:

The Combination Alternative B consists of the improvements in Alternative 4 (the Pike Avenue Extension) as well as Alternative 2 (making the entire I-30 corridor as an eight lane facility and completing the improvements at the Broadway Bridge approaches). This combination will result in significant reductions in the volumes on both the Broadway and Main Street bridges, as vehicles will be attracted to the improved facilities (Pike Avenue and I-30) on either edge of the Central Business Districts. The LOS on I-30 will improve from F to E, while Main Street and Broadway will improve to LOS B.

The highway department has said that it wouldn't reduce traffic much and that the city would have to pay for road construction south of the river. That was not the case when the 30 Crossing plan called for making Chester a one-way southbound state highway to take traffic from Cantrell to I-630, but never mind that either.

What the highway department wants on Interstate 30 is LOS (level of service) D. That's a level that allows rush hour traffic in 2041 to move with eight car lengths between cars. (Yes, it would get gnarly if there was an accident. Just like on every other highway in the world.)

That means in 2030, I guess, I-30 would be so spacious you could zip along at 80 miles per hour. Hello, goodbye, Little Rock.

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