Boat access to Arkansas River in NLR temporarily closed for I-30 project
BY Jim Harris
Sept. 25, 2020
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Department of Transportation’s project to widen Interstate 30 and replace the I-30 bridge through Little Rock and North Little Rock will require the temporary closure of the boat ramp to the Arkansas River in downtown North Little Rock.
The Locust Street Boat Ramp at the North River Landing, which has also been referred to in recent years as the Alltel/Verizon ramp, will be closed for the duration of the project and is planned to be reopened after completion. The I-30 Crossing project may ultimately provide additional covered parking under the expanded bridge for anglers.
For anglers seeking other means of access to the river, an alternative boat ramp is available at Riverview Park, located 2.5 miles west of the Locust Street ramp and big enough to accommodate about 20 boats. According to Ben Batten, AGFC’s chief of the Fisheries Division, the City of Little Rock has agreed to host any fishing events that would normally use the Locust Street ramp at Murray Park in Little Rock while the I-30 Crossing project is in progress. Murray Park features two ramps and parking for more than 100 boats.
Batten, in noting future plans for the Locust Street access, said, “Fisheries has an interest in partnering with the City of North Little Rock to improve the access at Locust Street during or shortly after the completion of this project. This area is very popular, especially for competitive fishing events taking place in the Little Rock pool of the Arkansas River.”
Improved parking and infrastructure for conducting tournament weigh-ins are areas that could be discussed after boating access resumes there, he said.
The AGFC has been involved with ArDOT in the project planning and public involvement process for over six years, including providing comments where appropriate through its Environmental Compliance Division.
The I-30 Crossing project will affect other AGFC facilities, Batten noted, and the AGFC’s Education Division has also been involved in response to the project. A construction barge will be moored in the river behind the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center in Little Rock’s River Market district. There may be times when equipment is in close proximity to the center, and traffic in and around the nature center may be blocked off.
Also during construction, boaters should heed any instructions issued by the Army Corps of Engineers and enforced by the Coast Guard. For more information on any Corps river notices during the project, visit www.swl.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation/Navigation-Notices. While those notices are aimed mostly at barge traffic so it can avoid running too shallow, the notices also include temporary closures for construction.
The weigh-in pavilion, bleachers and the AGFC’s life jacket loaner station at the Locust Street access also were recently removed.
More information on the I-30 Crossing project can be obtained through ArDOT at connectingarkansasprogram.com/lane-closures/735/work-on-interstate-30-requires-parking-lot-closures-and-river-trail-detours-in-little-rock-and-north-little-rock/#.X2EdPmhKhhE.
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