Politicians, Arkansas Department of Transportation officials and dignitaries commissioned a section of Arkansas 10 in Little Rock the Thomas B. Schueck Highway at a Wednesday ceremony, finishing a two-year, $81 million project that transformed intersections with Interstate 430 and Rodney Parham Road.
What was once a chronic cause of traffic congestion where Cantrell Road and Rodney Parham intersected as surface streets is now a grade-separated interchange with four exists that run off and onto Rodney Parham from the Cantrell overpass.
The complex freeway interchange with I-430 was reconfigured with a flyover lane in an additional attempt to mitigate traffic congestion. Neighboring River Mountain Road was relocated.
In all, four new bridges have been built and two more rehabilitated.
Additional traffic lanes have also been installed on Cantrell west of the interchange.
Cantrell has also been resurfaced east of the interstate interchange, between Pleasant Valley Drive and Reservoir Road. Cantrell lanes west of the Rodney Parham overpass are also due to be repaved.
Highway department Director Lorie H. Tudor said 59,000 motorists a day pass through Cantrell's intersection with Rodney Parham. State Highway Commissioner Marie Holder said 84,000 vehicles a day travel through the Cantrell and I-430 intersection.
"Before this project was started, it wasn't unusual to see traffic back up in the mornings and the afternoons as people headed to work and school during rush hour. With these improvements, I'm happy to report that that congestion is a thing of the past," Holder said.
Speakers praised Schueck, who served on the highway commission for nine years, as a visionary and strong, if very strong-willed, leader.
"This was a legacy project for Commissioner Schueck," Tudor said. "Improving the Highway 10 corridor was his No. 1 goal. From securing money from this project all the way through the design process, he was fully engaged."
Schueck founded Schueck Steel in 1968; the business now has thousands of employees and has manufactured for projects ranging from football stadiums to warehouses to power plants. Schueck served on several additional state and municipal boards and donated widely through a foundation he established. He was serving as chairman of the highway commission when he died on March 3, 2020.
The project's contractor was the Omaha, Neb.-based Kiewit Corporation. Work began in the summer of 2020, two years after design commenced.
"We're also celebrating today because of the patience and the willingness from the road-users to be inconvenienced for just a little while to make this a better-functioning interchange and intersection. So thank you for that," Tudor said.
Managers at businesses along the Cantrell corridor said they are also pleased the project is complete and motorists have easier access to the area's retail and dining.