Ramp Closures Planned

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A construction project on Interstate 540 in the River Valley is underway and on schedule. The next phase affects traffic along the Grand Avenue on and off ramps. The ramps are closing this week but only during the overnight hours.

The closing of the ramps is leaving some drivers and business owners concerned.

The ramps will be closed from midnight until 3 a.m. this Thursday and Friday morning. That’s so workers can pave the southbound lanes of the highway.

Navi Sandhu owns a gas station right off the interstate on Grand he said the construction is slamming his business and losing loads of money.

"Around 10 to 12,000 every month,” said Sandhu.

Sandhu said he's not sure if his business can take any more construction.

"It's like 12,000 a month dropped like 15 to 18,000 gallons of gas," said Sandhu.

Resident Engineer John Sharum said weather has been a factor with the project.

"We had a rather wet Spring,” said Sharum. “That slowed them up from what they originally anticipated so they are not behind schedule but there not as far as they personally want to be."

Sharum said the project is right on schedule and after the construction is over drivers can expect a smoother ride.  Some Fort Smith drivers are ready for the construction to end.

"There are some drivers that are just awful and probably shouldn't have a driver’s license. Once there's an accident out there, it's a parking lot,” said Patrick Lensing.

Lensing drives the interstate overnight. He said he will be adjusting his route because of the ramps closing.

"I'll just have to get off on Kelly and drive a little bit further," said Lensing.

Sharum said even with the rainy weather this spring, contractors expect to have the entire project finished by next summer.

Up-to-date information on lane closures on this and other projects in the state is available at www.arkansashighways.com

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