LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP & KLRT) — Major delays are expected starting this week at the interchange of Interstate 430 and Interstate 630 in west Little Rock.
Lane closures are to start Thursday and last for about three weeks as work crews hoist steel beams for flyover lanes above the existing traffic lanes.
Officials say there will be times when I-430 will be down to one lane in either direction.
A series of seven different lane shifts will be necessary during the 20-day period that starts Thursday.
"Is this going to be inconvenient for people? Yes. Is it going to take longer for people to get where they're going? Yes. Is this going to be better for everyone in the long run when this project is completed. Absolutely," said Scott Bennett, director of the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.
Bennett addressed the media Wednesday morning to encourage them to find alternate routes throughout the three week period -- before Thursday.
"We think it's best if everyone alters their travel plans. Find another way around. We think that will be best for everybody. If you choose to travel through the interchange, just be aware of what's going on," he said.
Although it's illegal to use a cell phone in a work zone, he encouraged drivers to follow the law during this time because of all the changes.
Highway leaders predict it will take 20 days, but it all depends on the weather.
Download a map of the lane shifts
"It's going to be a pretty intense schedule. It's going to be a lot of traffic pattern changes out there," said Randy Ort, spokesman for the highway department.
It's asking a lot, where hundreds of thousands of us travel every day as serious, momentous work will take place at the interchange.
More than three dozen steel beams will go in to frame flyover ramps at the interchange. Changes in the air call for changes on the ground.
"If you go through there in the morning, chances are the conditions will be different when you go through there in the afternoon, and it could be different when you go through the next morning," Ort said.
Drivers have already planned detours, like taking Markham or Kanis to get to west Little Rock.
"If it makes this part of town easier to get through and maneuver, I'm all for it," said Karen Foster.