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Morning, Sir: I was curious what ArDot was thinking by starting the Interstate 30 construction, then starting Interstate 430 construction as well. I don't go over to Sherwood much, but I do go visit my sister there every so often. I figured I would detour by going I-430 from West Little Rock, but both highways are starting to be a mess of traffic since everything is still open during this covid resurgence. I suppose nothing logical goes through their brain at ArDot. -- Geeky

Dear Geeky: Our experience in writing this column over a 15-year period is that people at the Arkansas Department of Transportation are plenty smart and plenty logical. They are certainly smarter than your columnist, which admittedly is no great shakes.

Many people at ArDot are engineers. We, personally, have to look up the spelling of "engineer" every time we write it. Ever look at the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices? It takes a genius, or an engineer, to understand it. Mere mortals do the best we can.

ArDot is also extremely sensitive to public opinion, in our experience. And so one of its public voices, David Nilles, has answered your question, observation and criticism in a kindly fashion.

Nilles acknowledges that while having construction on both Arkansas River bridges isn't ideal, work on I-430 was necessary to maintain its deck, or surface, which turns out to be a structural element. The agency's bridge engineers, he said, determined it was time to make the repairs. Otherwise, more extensive and costly repairs would be necessary down the road.

Repairs on I-430 may be inconvenient, Nilles said, but couldn't wait.

Turning to the I-30 bridge, the Mother of All Highway Projects, he said ArDot strives to avoid lane closures on both projects at the same time.

Contractors are also required to work when traffic is less, although there are traffic conniptions (our word) that can't be avoided.

Meanwhile, Geeky, regards to your Northside sister.

Dear Sir: With all of the construction at the Cantrell Road/Interstate 430 intersection, will there be any attention to River Mountain Road, which leads to the Two Rivers Bridge. While I'm asking, what do you think about adding bike lanes? -- Two Rivers Bridge User.

Dear Bridge: We got an answer from Mark Headley, chief engineer of District 6 of ArDot. He tells us that bike lanes will be added to the section of River Mountain Road, which the agency is reconstructing with the Cantrell Road widening project. He notes that the road was transferred to the city of Little Rock several years ago, and improvements won't extend "past the curve between the east-west and north-south sections near I-430."

We think this is engineer-speak for "not nearly all the way down."

So when the Cantrell Road project is finished, it would be time to petition city government for improvements all the way down.

Vanity plate seen in Fort Smith: DRIVING.


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