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Drivetime Mahatma

Take trip down busy roads list

By Frank Fellone

This article was published August 2, 2014 at 3:33 a.m.

A couple of weeks ago there appeared here a list of the most traveled stretches of highway in Arkansas, data compiled by the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department.

For those who came in late, or for whom two weeks is an eon, the busiest piece of highway in this state is Interstate 30, Sixth Street in Little Rock to Interstate 40 in North Little Rock, which carries an average of 114,700 vehicles per day.

The top 10 constitute 7 percent of the vehicle miles traveled on the Arkansas Primary Network, which itself carries 90 percent of the traffic in Arkansas. The top 20 equal 10 percent of that traffic.

(It most be noted that this part of I-30 is the bridge over the Arkansas River. When the Broadway Bridge is out of service come April, and there's a fender-bender on the I-30 bridge ...)

The top 10 list piqued the interest of others, and so the Highway Department compiled the busiest roads 11 through 20.

  1. Interstate 49, Elm Springs Road to Wagon Wheel Road, Exit 73 to Exit 76 in Benton and Washington counties, with average daily traffic of 77,000 vehicles per day.

  2. I-40 from Crystal Hill Road in North Little Rock to Arkansas 365, 76,600.

  3. Interstate 430, Shackleford Road in Little Rock to Interstate 630, 76,000.

  4. I-430 Stagecoach Road to Colonel Glenn Road, 73,000.

  5. I-49 Pleasant Grove Road to U.S. 71B, exit 81 to exit 86, Benton County, 72,600.

  6. U.S. 67 from McCain Boulevard in North Little Rock to Wildwood Avenue in Sherwood, 72,000.

  7. I-49 Wagon Wheel Road to Pleasant Grove Road, exit 76 to exit 81, Benton County, 71,000.

  8. I-30 Congo Road to Alcoa Road, Benton, 70,000.

  9. I-430 from Arkansas 100 in Maumelle to I-40, 68,000.

  10. A tie: I-40 Arkansas 365 in Morgan to I-430, 67,000. And I-49 from U.S. 412 to Elm Springs Road, exit 72 to exit 73, Washington County, 67,000.

Footnote: I-49 used to be Interstate 540 in Northwest Arkansas.

Mr. Know-it-All: Hoping you can discover from sources just when the welcome center in Harrison will be updated. Many travelers to and from Branson stop there. The bathrooms are ancient and pitiable. Surely there are plans to replace it. -- Frequent Traveler

Dear Frequent: Stop calling us Shirley, and we'll ask the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department about the Harrison welcome center.

The Highway Department says it is evaluating a plan to build a new welcome center on U.S. 65 at Harrison, and at the Red River on U.S. 71 in Miller County. The plan is in the preliminary stages.

In its defense, the Highway Department says it has built welcome centers in Texarkana, Corning, El Dorado, Fort Smith/Van Buren, Lake Village, Blytheville, West Memphis and Helena-West Helena. The latter was finished in 2013, the others over an 11-year span.

Vanity plate seen on a Mini Cooper: ITINY.

Mahatma@arkansasonline.com

Metro on 08/02/2014

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