DIRECTOR LANCE HINES: Writes mayor about elay in financial reporting. BRIAN CHILSON

At Tuesday evening’s Little Rock board of directors meeting, city directors voted to approve a resolution authorizing the mayor to negotiate an agreement with the Arkansas Department of Transportation on the construction of the 30 Crossing Project.

30 Crossing will widen Interstate 30 from 6 lanes to 10 lanes and in other places from I-40 on the north to the I-440/I-540 intersection on the south. ARDOT originally estimated the seven-mile stretch would cost $631 million, but bids that came in after the ARDOT’s environmental assessment of the project brought the actual cost of the project to nearly $1 billion.

The resolution approved by city directors requires the city to pay an estimated $3.8 million in improvements to the existing I-30 crossing plan, including the purchasing and planting of trees, the widening of a bridge on the 6th and 9th street overpasses to accommodate six sidewalks and bike lanes, hand railings and aesthetic treatments and installations of stamped concrete pedestrian crossings.

City directors Dean Kumpuris and Lance Hines spoke in favor of the resolution. Kumpuris said it “may not be a perfect plan, but it’s a really good plan,” and Hines told community members gathered at the meeting that the “train is already on the tracks” with 30 Crossing. 

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City directors Kathy Webb and Capi Peck spoke against the resolution, both calling it “premature” and encouraging for their fellow directors to vote against it.

Many people stepped forward to speak against the resolution, saying the project will inhibit the walkability of Little Rock and cause congestion that will deter people from traveling to the city.

City Director Doris Wright asked Planning asked Development Director Jamie Collins, who fielded directors’ questions about the resolution, what would happen if the board of directors were to not approve the resolution.

“If the board denies action tonight, what that does is we do not have that seat at that design-build table for negotiations,” Collins replied. “If they choose to put us there, they’re more than welcome to do so, but they do not have to. It is not part of an agreement to do so.”

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“But this would give us that voice?” Wright asked.

“Yes it would,” Collins said. “It would guarantee that voice.”