|Updated: 7/19/2012 5:39 pm
||Published: 7/19/2012 4:31 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Big changes are underway at the Big Rock Interchange in west Little Rock. Highway crews beginning a 20-day around the clock job. It's the latest step in a multi-year project to improve traffic in the state's busiest interchange.
Peering at I-430 from atop the Markham Street bridge. That's the plan for Don Rice the next 20 days.
"To bypass this area for sure," Rice says.
The signs are out for drivers. The promise of major changes at the 430/630 interchange started in earnest just before 10am on Thursday.
Highway crews blocked off two left lanes on Interstate 430 southbound from Rodney Parham all the way to I-630.
"It's going to be hectic, I’ll take the back roads, try to bypass it, even though I'd like to go through the highway, it would be more fast," driver David Gill says.
For drivers the next 20 days will pose even more challenges. Major traffic shifts to the northbound lanes are next.
"I guess hopefully find a detour around it or, I don't know, I guess we're going to have to check it out and see maybe what time is better to get through it," driver Natasha Vincent says.
Rice considers the 5-year project to remake the 430/630 interchange an engineering miracle. One he'll avoid for now.
"I don't see how they've been able to do it and keep traffic flowing at all," Rice says. "It's been tiresome working around the construction but I think it's worth the wait."
The wait in your commute through the interchange just got longer.
All the lane shifting is so crews can install more than three-dozen massive steel beams, the framework for the interchange's new flyover ramps.