AHTD beginning plans for new I-30 Arkansas River bridge

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -- Voters approved the money, and plans will begin soon to replace the I-30 river bridge connecting Little Rock and North Little Rock. The project is expected to cost $300-$400 million. The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department said most bridges are constructed for about a 50-year life span, the I-30 bridge was built in 1950. It's arguably one of the state's most heavily trafficked bridges, and soon it's going to get a major face lift with not only an expansion but an entirely new bridge. First things first though, the AHTD has another bridge to work on: the Broadway Bridge. "Then maybe in the spring of next year we plan on taking that bridge out of service," AHTFAHTDkesman Danny Straessle said about the Broadway Bridge. "Our estimates are about two solid years that bridge to be out of service. We've got to get that complete before we can even start on replacing the I-30 bridge." Straessle said the building of a new 1-30 bridge isn't a project the highway department can necessarily take it's time on because of Arkansas law. "The I-30 corridor project that we're going to undertake is a project that's funded by the half-cent sales tax that the voters approved in November of 2013. The stipulation of that sales tax is that the state only collects that for 10 years. All of the projects have to be done in 10 years." It's projected that construction on the Broadway Bridge will hopefully be finished in 2017, then the AHTD can turn its attention to the river bridge project. The transportation department said it's already looking at potential alternate routes for drivers.