Dear Mahatma: On the newly remodeled stretch of Interstate 630, I'm struck by all the new light fixtures the city will be unable to maintain. -- Devoted Reader
Dear Reader: You are either a humorist or a cynic. Is there a difference? Somewhere, Mark Twain is smiling. Or smirking.
We are reminded of Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary. He defines a cynic as "A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be."
But if thee be a cynic, take a number, especially when it comes to maintenance of lights along interstate highways. Many has been the reader who has asked us about the lights on I-630, the Interstate 30 river bridge, and especially the interchange in North Little Rock where I-30 meets Interstate 40.
Maintenance is the key word. When the Arkansas Department of Transportation builds or rebuilds an interstate highway, it installs the lights. Afterward, the duty to maintain them falls to municipalities.
Let's spread the word from Charles J. Blake, chief of staff to Mayor Frank Scott Jr. of Little Rock. Mr. Blake tells us that Public Works has steadily, um, worked on the interstate lighting systems:
On I-630 from I-30 to Fair Park Boulevard, more than 200 lighting fixtures have been replaced with LEDs, and several electrical circuits were repaired. Fixtures installed are warranted for 10 years, which should reduce the amount of maintenance.
At the Big Rock Interchange -- I-630 and Interstate 430 -- work is in progress to get fixtures changed out to LEDs.
On I-30, the city plans to upgrade lighting to LEDs and repair electrical circuits from Interstate 540 to I-630.
Lighting on I-30 north of I-630 will be replaced as part of the 30 Crossing Project.
Speaking of I-630, we have been modestly inundated with emails from readers who have delighted in the finishing of the project to widen the highway from University Avenue to Big Baptist Hospital, about 2.2 miles and two years of work.
ArDot tells us the work is down to final striping, final signage and placing guardrails. Also finishing the bike path and fencing, and texture-coating walls and bridges.
Being smarty-pants, we asked if there would be some kind of ceremony to mark the completion -- a handstand by the new executive director, marching bands, a goat roping. Nothing has been finalized, we are told, but there is discussion of an opening ceremony. Negatory on the goat roping.
Dear Mahatma: When will the new traffic lights on North Hills Boulevard be put into operation? -- Anxious
Dear Anxious: Jim Billings of the office of North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith said ... don't know yet. He notes the driveway to the giant new apartment complex has yet to be paved.
Vanity plate on an orange Corvette: ALLHAIL
Metro on 03/14/2020