There are several projects on the horizon that will require temporary closure of portions of the Arkansas River Trail for time periods ranging from 3 days to 18-24 months. Firm dates have not been set for the closures, so I'll provide updates as they become available.
Here are the planned closures that I am aware of in order of projected magnitude:
Two Rivers Park: The loop on the east end of the park near the foot of Two Rivers Park Bridge. This area of the trail is compromised by broken pavement and numerous bumps and ridges, making it hazardous for cyclists and skaters. The bumps are to be ground down and fresh asphalt is to be overlaid. The contract will be let by the City of Little Rock and work is expected to take about 3 days to complete. The trail will be closed during construction according to a parks department spokesman. The bids have not come in yet, and I will provide an update as information becomes available.
River Road-North Little Rock-A detour will be required at the River Trail near the Rockwater Marina along the closed-to-traffic River Road. An easy detour will take trail users along Old Pike Ave and Rockwater Blvd. The area will be closed for about a month as Entergy replaces aging utility poles.
River Trail- Little Rock and North Little Rock downtowns for Broadway Bridge construction: This will be the biggie. I'm not sure when construction will required trail closures, but the result will be havoc for riders and drivers as the bridge will be closed for 18-24 months and portions of the River Trail will be closed for most of that time.
In North Little Rock, the plan is to divert trail traffic to Riverfront Drive or West Broadway. These routes are viable alternatives, though both will likely be choked with cars piloted by frustrated drivers as about 24,000 automobiles try to squeeze onto the Main Street and I-30 bridges. Much of the Broadway Bridge traffic comes off of Pike Avenue from Levy and neighborhoods to the north.
Things are even less clear on the south side of the river. Little Rock bike advocates and planners have struggled to come up with a plan, but it appears that 3rd Street will be the best alternative. High traffic counts at peak times will likely mean downtown gridlock, so a bike may be the best way to get around!
I heard NLR Mayor Joe Smith quoted as suggesting we might have a need for commuter lots in downtown North Little Rock so that commuters can leave their cars and use the Clinton Park and Junction Bridges to complete their trip to downtown offices. That's some good thinking, Mayor.
There will be much cussin' and discussin' as we approach the start of bridge construction, and I'll report from time to time.