A consultant hired by a group concerned about possible ramifications of the expansion of Interstate 30 in downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock says the plan will lead to unintended consequences.
Norman Marshall of Smart Mobility said his data analysis shows the Arkansas Department of Highway and Transportation's plan to expand the interstate from six to 10 lanes will encourage more use and won’t reduce traffic problems.
"It wouldn't have any congestion benefit," he said. "It would increase congestion on the local streets."
Marshall's report includes a list of other cities with highway expansions that he said ultimately increased congestion. That's because drivers will opt for whatever appears to be the fastest route, he said.
"There's two ways to kind of spread the traffic out. One way is congestion, that's the way we're doing today," said Marshall. "The other would be a toll, but if you just let it be twice as fast, you're going to attract all the cars."
The ADHT is holding a public meeting on the plan April 26. Officials declined to comment on Marshall’s report. He said he plans to present a second report to the Little Rock Board of Directors, focused on possible alternatives.