Traffic on Interstate 540 in Fort Smith will shift Friday evening (Mar. 29) as part of an ongoing reconstruction project. The traffic patterns are set to change after 8 p.m.
"The major effect that this change will have on traffic is the temporary ramps to Rogers Avenue," said Joe Shipman with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department. "It may, in fact, have a little better effect than the previous configuration."
Shipman says the southbound traffic will continue traveling on the northbound lanes rather than being diverted to the southbound lanes just north of Rogers Avenue. Temporary ramps will allow drivers to access the northbound lanes.
The bridge over Rogers Avenue will be removed completely, according to Shipman. "It will be replaced with a new structure that will be longer in length and will allow for future expansion of Rogers Avenue."
Drivers say they plan to leave home a little earlier this weekend to avoid delays.
"I've got to come back over here tomorrow and go to Best Buy," said Andrew Bell from Vian, OK. "I'm probably going to have to add another 20 to 30 minutes to my routine."
"You've got to allow yourself a little bit more time and a little bit more travel space between cars," said John Guess from Fort Smith.
Shipman estimates this phase of the project will be complete in four months.