The Arkansas Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting Thursday to discuss plans to widen Cantrell Road between Pleasant Ridge Road and Pleasant Valley Drive in Little Rock as well as upgrade the Cantrell Road/Interstate 430 interchange.
The meeting will give area residents an opportunity to view the latest plans to improve the congested corridor, which the department has called the busiest non-interstate thoroughfare in the state.
"It's long overdue," said Tom Schueck, a member of the state Highway Commission from Little Rock. "It's a large project. They got it worked out pretty good. It's not what I would say is perfect. The biggest deal is how quickly can we get started?"
The meeting will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the family life center at Christ the King Catholic Church, 4000 N. Rodney Parham Road. The public is invited to visit any time during the scheduled hours to view displays, ask questions and offer comments.
That section of Cantrell Road, which is also called Arkansas 10, carries up to 54,000 vehicles traveling between Pleasant Valley and Pleasant Ridge roads every day. A study of the corridor has projected that 76,000 vehicles will be using Cantrell daily in 20 years.
The project is centered on a single-point urban interchange design in which the section of Cantrell, widened to six lanes from four, will have traffic go over the North Rodney Parham Road intersection rather than through it, as Cantrell does now.
The elevated roadway is similar to the ramp that carries traffic on Interstate 630 over South Shackleford Road in the Interstate 430/Interstate 630 interchange.
The "single point" in the interchange design would be underneath Cantrell at North Rodney Parham. One traffic signal would control traffic moving onto or off Cantrell, which would allow motorists going east and west on Cantrell to avoid stopping at a light to accommodate North Rodney Parham traffic, a feature that is a source of much of the congestion in the corridor.
The design also includes a feature popularly known as a "Texas turnaround," which will allow drivers traveling south on I-430 to turn east on Cantrell. Motorists actually would travel west for a short distance, then make what amounts to a U-turn back to the east.
The Texas turnaround would replace a loop ramp that traffic now uses to go from southbound I-430 to eastbound Cantrell and would eliminate an element that has the southbound I-430 traffic merging into the same lane used by eastbound Cantrell traffic to access I-430 north.
The new interchange also will feature a traffic circle north of Cantrell and opposite North Rodney Parham that would serve traffic for the Walton Heights neighborhood, River Mountain Road and a bank and church facing Cantrell.
The department already has picked three firms to work on the project. It will be the first to employ the construction manager/contractor method, in which the contractor works with the department's design team to better help control costs and manage traffic during construction.
The contractor is Kiewit Infrastructure South of Fort Worth. Innovative Contracting & Engineering of Las Vegas will serve as an independent cost estimator that will work with the contractor and the design team.
Kiewit already has recommended changes to the design that will be on display at the meeting. The changes include moving the access from Cantrell west to North Rodney Parham further east with the addition of a fly ramp, said Trinity Smith, head of the department's roadway design division. The changes will reduce costs, Smith said.
Garver LLC, the multidisciplinary engineering services firm based in North Little Rock, is the engineers' estimating consultant for the project, which Schueck said will cost $70 million to $80 million, up from a $58 million planning estimate.
As part of the construction manager/contractor method, Kiewit will have the opportunity to submit a bid to do the work without involving other contractors. Projects typically are designed first, and any qualified contractor has an opportunity to bid. The contractor submitting the lowest bid wins the contract.
Kiewit's bid will be compared to a project cost estimated developed by Garver, which will monitor the design team's work. Garver will share its cost estimate with agency officials but not Kiewit.
If Kiewit's estimate is within 10 percent of Garver's cost estimate, it will be awarded the job.
If it isn't within 10 percent, the project will go through the normal bidding process. Kiewit wouldn't be precluded from submitting another bid at that point.
Work already has been done to improve the interchange. Kiewit was the contractor that recently completed the $22.9 million construction of a ramp from Cantrell westbound to I-430 northbound.
Metro on 07/17/2018