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430 River Bridge 'flex lane' set to open soon

Over the past few months, traffic crews have continued to work on a new "flex lane" along the 430 River Bridge— that new lane is set to open soon for drivers.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Two things are easy to spot on the I-430 River Bridge— the traffic, and the new hardware aimed at easing traffic.

"You'll see a red X go to a green arrow, and thus you are able to drive in that lane," Dave Parker, spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Transportation, said.

If you've driven across the bridge the past few months, then you've seen black signs on poles, and an additional lane on the outside of the bridge.

"It's just gonna be a really, really helpful concept that will increase the flow and safety of traffic in that area," Parker said.

Most of the time, these signs will show that red X, and the fourth lane will act as a shoulder. During peak times, like rush hour, that shoulder will become a fourth lane.

Parker explained that the "managed lane" should be a huge help for one of Arkansas's heaviest-traveled bridges.

"90,000 cars a day in both directions, so the area is growing at such a rate that it warrants it safety-wise," he said. "Just quality of life wise to get around that morning rush, getting to work, school."

Though, there is one thing we noticed— that lane ends into the exit ramp on either end of the bridge.

Parker said that they've also thought about that, but given time, he said people should be able to avoid issues.

"With anything, it's going to take, you know, people getting adjusted to," Parker said. "That's why we're going to take a while, we've been trying to get the word out for a little bit."

For the next two weeks, you'll see that lane still act as a shoulder with the signs showing the red X. If nothing sets them back, Parker said that you should see the system up and operational on March 27.

"It's taken a while, we're glad it's finally at a point of being able to utilize it for the public," he said.

While it may take some time to get used to, Parker added that they're excited to fully open the system— and he's got some advice as well.

"It's a little tighter, just take it easy and careful, you should be fine," he said.

Parker also explained that ARDOT will only open that lane if it's clear and free of debris and cars, and they'll check daily before they open it.

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