‘RED•Zones’ hoped to ease traffic around I-40 work in Arkansas
The initial RED•Zones project is the Interstate 40 project in Prairie County between Little Rock and Memphis.
The Trucker News Services
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) has announced the “Know the RED•Zones” campaign to highlight areas with significantly reduced capacity during highway construction projects in the state, AHTD Director Scott Bennett said.
“Our goal with this campaign is simple. We want travelers to be aware of these RED•Zones and to consider alternate routes, when available, before they get into the construction area,” Bennett said. “And if they choose to drive through the project, then we want them to have the latest information available for the safest possible travel.”
The initial RED•Zones project is the Interstate 40 project in Prairie County between Little Rock and Memphis. The program will also be utilized when the state initiates projects that are part of the $575 million bond issue approved by voters last November that will rebuild some 400 miles of interstate highways in Arkansas.
Work on the first projects funded by the $575 million bond issue will begin in late 2012.
The $56 million Prairie County job includes the rehabilitation of existing I-40 lanes in a 10-mile section located on the east and west sides of the White River bridge.
During peak driving times, over 40,000 vehicles travel this area each day, according to highway officials.
This includes hundreds upon hundreds of tractor-trailers.
Because of the type of work performed, the contractor will have to reduce the four lanes to two by placing both east and westbound vehicles on one side of the interstate. Once one side is completed the same scenario will move to the other side.
Estimated completion for construction is late 2013.
“The I-40 work zone has multiple safety precautions built into the contract,” Bennett said. “There will be a Traffic Control Supervisor and a Motorist Assistance Program (MAP) vehicle on site 24/7.”
The Traffic Control Supervisor will be responsible for all aspects of traffic control and will have the ability to provide real time information on any incidents by way of message boards and highway advisory radio channels. The work zone will also feature portable lighting in crossover traffic areas and additional signage to remind travelers to drive safely.
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Travel tips and project information can be found under the RED•Zones icon at the AHTD Web page located at www.ArkansasHighways.com. Truckers will also be able to access restricted road and bridge information on alternate routes at this site.
“The idea behind the education campaign is that if we can reach a traveler, for example, in Conway on their way to Memphis and we inform them about the I-40 work zone, then they might choose to take Highway 64 through Beebe and Bald Knob to West Memphis,” Bennett said. “The bottom line is that it is just going to take longer to drive I-40 between Little Rock and Memphis, and people need to be aware of that and plan accordingly. If we combine enough people opting for alternate routes with the traffic management plans in place, then we can have a safer work zone, an easier to drive through work zones and maybe a work zone that even gets completed ahead of time.”
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