(KATV) Little Rock - With the holidays coming up, the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has released a progress report on the I-430 I-630 interchange.
The interchange is now officially known as "Big Rock". It's the largest interchange in the state and during the overhaul highway department representatives are asking drivers to be patient with holiday traffic being added to the mix.
When the interchange was opened in the 70's with that now infamous traffic light, you have to imagine there was nothing developed in West Little Rock. It wasn't even anticipated. The traffic pattern has changed and now we're nearing the third year of the five year project.
The barrels and construction signs are not going anywhere for a while.
Samantha Reeder drives it several times a day to go to school, work and home. She says, "It's terrible. It's always very congested and not to mention there's wrecks at least every other day. It's just a pain."
But its growing pains that will be transformed into this [see video] soon enough. No more red light at the end of I-630, the work currently under construction includes flyovers to keep traffic flowing.
All made possible by about 120 workers and more than 125 million dollars. "The bulk of it is going to be 80% federal and 20% state," says Scott Bennett.
You may have seen workers paying special attention to aesthetics using the outline of the state and art deco pine cones, representing the state tree, the pine tree.
This is the first time the highway department has put together a Maintenance of Traffic Review Committee. Their ideas have kept you from being in traffic longer and kept detours and lane closures to a minimum. Bennett adds, "Just to let everybody know that we're looking at improving everything every step of the way including while it's under construction.
But with a total of 200,000 drivers using the interchange daily, delays are inevitable. It doesn't help that north bound traffic to Shackleford is down to one lane through the holidays.
Channel Seven surprised Samantha Reeder who didn't know the completion date is in 2014. She says, "Really? Two and a half years? I don't know if I can take that. She continues, "Maybe it will get a little better."
There are no major traffic pattern changes until summer 2012.
With Black Friday approaching, officials are not too concerned about extra congestion. They predict some people will being off work staying of the road and traffic will be spread out. But their advice - drivers who don't slow down in the work zones have been the cause of many accidents, so pay attention.
(Source: AHTD) Little Rock - It's no secret that traffic demands at the I-430/I-630 interchange in west Little Rock, now referred to as the "Big Rock Interchange," have dramatically changed over the years. The interchange opened in 1977 before there was a Chenal Boulevard or a Financial Center Parkway, and there was virtually no development west of I-430. Traffic volumes on I-430 and I-630 in the vicintiy of the interchange have quadrupled since it opened.
Work is underway to modify the interchange to more efficiently accommodate current and projected future traffic volumes. This site was created to provide information about the project.
The name "Big Rock Interchange" is derived from the large rock formation in the southeast quadrant of the interchange that was uncovered during construction. Rather than use explosives or some other method to remove the unexpected feature, the decision was made to leave the unique and distinctive formation in place. Hence the name, the "Big Rock Interchange."
Click on the links below to go to a Fact Sheet about the Interchange and photo gallery. There's also a link to view an animated model that shows how the interchange will look and function upon completion. As a matter of fact, the model actually depicts what traffic is expected to look like in the year 2025.