City spending on I-30 ditch no longer a 'consent' item on board agenda | Arkansas Blog

City spending on I-30 ditch no longer a 'consent' item on board agenda


I-30 CORRIDOR: More concrete needed, the Department of Transportation says.
  • I-30 CORRIDOR: More concrete needed, the Department of Transportation says.

The Little Rock City Board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday (not Tuesday as is customary) and items up for discussion include authorizing an additional $175,000 to Nelson/Nygaard Consulting "to assist the city with its responsibilities to the Arkansas Department ofTransportation during the I-30 Crossing Project. "

I'd prefer to say the state has responsibilities not to tear up the city. But that's me. The 30 Crossing project will further widen the concrete ditch that plows through the heart of a rebuilding downtown.

Why the city is having to pay additional money to be an architect of its own demise is, perhaps, a question one or two city directors might like to pose. And perhaps some will. This payment was additionally listed on the city board's "consent" agenda, meaning the roster of non-controversial items routinely approved as a batch. It has now been moved to a separate discussion item. Since the chamber of commerce controls the city board and since the chamber of commerce has decreed that this project must be built both to help its members in the construction industry and to help rush suburbanites home to white-flight communities a minute or two faster, it WILL be approved.

Granted, Nelson/Nygaard might in time make some suggestions about mitigating the harmful effects on city streets and induced demand at other freeway choke points as a result of the 30 Ditch. But the state has already made it clear that it won't be paying for any of those induced costs. That will be the city's responsibility. Just as it has paid in segregation, neighborhood deterioration, city division and school erosion — if not in financial outlays — for earlier city freeway projects.

Here's the word salad by which the expenditure is explained to the city board:

Among other things, there will be a need to prepare an Interagency Agreement between the City and ArDOT. The City needs to be aware and involved to the appropriate extent with the contractor selection process, contract review, and design of the project. With all of the background work that Nelson/Nygaard has done for the City, the most efficient way to approach the situation is to amend the current agreement. This resolution accomplishes that amendment.

The contract requirements include work sessions with ArDOT on the preparation of an interagency agreement and design approach; review and comments on the ArDOT Design Build Request for Proposal; assistance to the City on how best to support the process; and, to articulate the City’s reviews as to what the final project plans should be.

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