The Arkansas Department of Transportation is holding a final public hearing Thursday on a proposed expansion of a 6.7 mile stretch of Interstate 30 through the downtowns of Little Rock and North Little Rock.
The meeting will take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel at 2 Riverfront Place in North Little Rock. The department, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is seeking public input at the hearing.
The $631 million 30 Crossing project involves expanding the number of lanes and replacing the bridge over the Arkansas River.
"We have just wrapped up our environmental assessment and submitted it to the Federal Highway Administration for review to determine whether or not we could take it to the public for final analysis," said department spokesman Danny Straessle.
The forum will be open to the public and Straessle expects a mix of attendees.
"Basically, anybody who uses this corridor will be there," he said. "Obviously, not everybody will be there, but there are ones with strong interests in the project in one way or another to take a look at what we’ve got."
Details on the project can be found on a department website. Included are 3-D demonstration videos to give people an idea of what is being proposed.
Opponents to the 30 Crossing project have been vocal in the wake of the environmental assessment. State Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock) has been speaking in opposition to the project for three years. Sabin said he believes there are better ways to manage congestion in the I-30 area that won’t interfere with the surrounding area.
"I think a lot of the main concerns will resurface from the last three years about whether this is the right solution, whether this is worth spending $700 million to expand an interstate in our downtown core," said Sabin.
The expansion plan is currently on display at the main branch of the Central Arkansas Library System and at the Laman Library in Little Rock. It can also be viewed at Department of Transportation’s headquarters and on the department's website.