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I-40 westbound lanes reopen in NLR after crews replace sign structure

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published April 23, 2014 at 11:12 a.m. Updated April 23, 2014 at 4:34 p.m.

a-crane-is-positioned-on-interstate-40-to-remove-an-overhead-sign-structure-after-it-was-hit-by-a-dump-truck-early-wednesday

A crane is positioned on Interstate 40 to remove an overhead sign structure after it was hit by a dump truck early Wednesday.

Work to remove damaged sign backs up I-40

Westbound Interstate 40 traffic in North Little Rock was backed up for miles Wednesday while crews removed an overhead sign structure damaged during the morning rush hour. (By Gavin Lesnick)
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A crane is positioned on Interstate 40 to remove an overhead sign structure after it was hit by a dump truck early Wednesday.

4:30 p.m. Update:

Highway department officials say all westbound lanes of I-40 near the Crystal Hill Road exit, mile marker 148, in North Little Rock have reopened.

The Arkansas Online live traffic map shows traffic in the area is clear as of 4:30 p.m.

2:40 p.m. Update:

The center and inside, westbound lanes on I-40 in North Little Rock have reopened at the Crystal Hill Road exit, mile marker 148, according to highway officials.

See the current traffic flow on the Arkansas Online live traffic map.

1:35 p.m. Update:

The inside, westbound lane of I-40 in North Little Rock has reopened. Highway department officials said additional lanes will reopen when the crane and other removal equipment are removed from the interstate. Motorists are still advised to seek alternate routes.

1:10 p.m. Update:

Highway department officials have briefly shut down all westbound lanes on I-40 in North Little Rock while crews replace a broken sign structure just east of I-430.

Motorists are asked to avoid the area and seek alternate routes.

Arkansas Online will provide more updates as information becomes available.

Earlier:

A damaged sign is causing major delays on Interstate 40 in North Little Rock, and highway officials say the backup will get worse later Wednesday when all westbound lanes close.

Danny Straessle, a spokesman for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, said a dump truck that did not have its bed all the way down hit a sign structure in the westbound lanes of Interstate 40 just east of the Interstate 430 interchange.

The impact knocked down one sign and caused enough damage that the whole structure will have to be removed. Straessle said earlier Wednesday a crane was en route to the site late Wednesday morning and that all lanes would be shut once it arrived so the work can be completed as quickly as possible.

The crane was being positioned at 11:45 a.m. with only the far left lane getting through. That was causing a lengthy backup, according to the Arkansas Online live traffic map.

Straessle encouraged motorists to take I-30 west to I-630 west to I-430 north back to I-40 or to use Arkansas 365 to avoid the stretch of highway.

"Stay out of the area," he said. "Because you're only going to get caught in traffic."

Eastbound lanes are not affected.

The delay comes less than a week after a similar situation on Interstate 40 in North Little Rock where a dump truck with a raised bed hit a bridge, spilling its contents and causing lengthy delays.

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