We are the design lead on this Kiewit-Massman (KMC) joint venture between Kiewit Construction of Fort Worth and Massman Construction in Kansas City, providing bridge, roadway and maintenance of traffic design, as well as design management. Our experience in designing bridges over major rivers has enabled our team to reduce costs and expedite the construction of the Arkansas River bridge, which lies along the critical path for the project.
The project is slated to provide connections to five interstates and a freeway, a major river crossing over a busy navigation channel, congestion management, and multimodal considerations — all in a congested urban area. The bridge and roadway design entails replacement of a 3,360-foot bridge over the Arkansas River, improvements to other bridges on I-30 and the widening of I-30 through Little Rock.
To position the design for success, we aligned the design packaging with the construction schedule. We deviated from the traditional design-build approach of packaging by phase of work (grading, drainage, walls, paving) and chose to package the project geographically, according to the areas where KMC will work. This approach will help minimize disruptions to the flow of traffic and align with the maintenance of traffic scheme. It will also enable KMC to complete areas of work more efficiently and perform fewer traffic shifts.
This approach to packaging effectively broke the work down into smaller, more manageable projects, each with its own design team and package manager. It also made staff at the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) more comfortable reviewing and approving packages. The content was more closely aligned to what they had received on design-bid-build projects. This was an important consideration for our team since this was ARDOT’s first design-build project and we wanted to minimize schedule risk related to design reviews. In addition, it helped the department manage its staffing plan over the course of the project.
Throughout the design, our team instituted project controls to see that all original project commitments were met and that the design addressed comments received through task force meetings, over-the-shoulder reviews and milestone plan reviews. These steps have been essential for maintaining the project schedule. Our team’s ability to continuously stress the technical provisions and create a culture that focuses on the needs of the client has further helped deliver success.
Construction on the first package began in fall 2020. During the next several years, the Arkansas River bridge will be reconstructed to include an improved opening for the navigation channel. The project also will lead to additional lanes, a reconstructed interchange, new ramps and frontage roads, and new bridges to link both sides of the interstate more effectively. Notably, in downtown Little Rock, the U.S. Highway 10 interchange — the primary entrance into downtown — is being reconstructed as a split-diamond interchange. This change presents challenges to maintaining access to downtown Little Rock. But when complete, it will diffuse traffic entering downtown streets and create an expansive area for greenspace or redevelopment. North Little Rock will see additional lanes, enhanced access with ramps and frontage roads and improvements at roadway crossings.
In both downtowns, the project areas will also implement pedestrian accommodations along the roadsides and at intersections to improve walkability and continue local revitalization efforts that are already underway.
Arkansas Department of Transportation
Little Rock, Arkansas