LITTLE ROCK (KTHV) - A major thoroughfare that drivers in Little Rock use every day is going to see some changes, and the Arkansas Department of Transportation showed off an early look at plans Thursday night to improve about an 8.5 mile stretch of Highway 10.
The highway department invited the public Thursday evening to check out what could happen to that stretch. It's roughly between I-430 and Ferndale Cutoff Road. The project won't be finished for years, but it does tackle some improvements to areas that often "clog up" during rush hour.
Lou Schickel joined the crowd Thursday evening to learn more about a possible future for a part of his daily driving routine.
"I'm on Highway 10 several times--all day long on Highway 10. I own Pleasant Ridge Town Center," Schickel said.
At Don Roberts Elementary School, the highway department invited drivers to check out an early blue-print to improve Highway 10.
"What we did is look at the entire corridor and said we've got a lot of traffic coming through here. How can move it more efficiently and safely?" said Danny Straessle with the Arkansas Highway Department.
An animation from the highway department shows highlights of the project, like a continuous, wider traffic flow along Highway 10 over I-430. There would be a new ramp to go north on I-430 and an improved one heading south. Driving toward the Rodney Parham intersection, there could be new turn lanes that would maintain that continuous traffic flow on Highway 10.
"That happens to be the busiest traveled areas in the state that is not on an interstate," Straessle said.
The plan includes additional widening and intersection improvements down to Ferndale Cutoff. Schickel likes the I-430 and Rodney Parham improvements but feels that's enough.
"It's like if you have a clogged up drain and make the sink bigger--it doesn't make any difference," Schickel said.
From here, the highway department will take the public comments and draft a plan for the highway department commission to consider. Beyond that, there are still environmental studies and even more public meetings to come.
Right now, the highway department still needs to raise most of the money for this project. The tab on paper right now comes in at just more than $64 million. Straessle said that the money would come primarily from an 80-20 federal matching grant with the "feds" paying 80 percent and Arkansas 20 percent.