NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The banks along the Arkansas river are typically quiet, and tranquil—but if you were to look up, that may no longer be the case.
"During the daytime hours, we're going to be making a little bit of noise," Dave Parker, spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Transportation, said.
Those noises that have been happening, are the sounds of jackhammers and piledrivers, and though they are loud, they also mean that progress is being made.
"The first part of taking down that bridge is going to be demolishing that upper part, the deck, the concrete," he explained.
If you've driven near the I-30 crossing area during the recent months, then you've most likely seen construction crews making progress on a new bridge next to the old one— and as of last weekend, people were finally able to drive on it.
"Getting the east side of the bridge, or getting the one bridge open was a big undertaking, we're happy for that," Parker said. "You know, we still got some other things to take care of, but yeah, so far so good."
Parker said that though progress has been continually moving along, there's still a ways to go. He also added that they're about 40% done with the project, and it is expected to wrap up in 2025.
"I think the people have overall accepted the fact that this is going to be a major area of construction for a good while, for good reason," he said.
Now that demolition has begun, crews have already started to take off the top layer on the old bridge, and after that, they'll cut away the old frame.
Once they are finished doing that, they'll get rid of the piers above the water, then it will get really loud— when they blast the parts underneath the water.
"So we're trying to be, you know, as environmentally safe and sound as possible, while also getting the bridge demolished in a quick and safe way," Parker described.
He also said that though the demolition may be a little louder, and traffic may move a little slower, the end result will be worth the wait.
"Two new bridges, 12 lanes, two years from now," he said. "I know two years may seem like a long time, but, you know, it takes a while to build things like this."
For more information on the project, please click here.