Arkansas Transportation

Medical Helicopter crash Dewitt
KATV-Channel 7

A National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report says several bird carcasses were found in the wreckage of a medical helicopter that crashed last month in eastern Arkansas, killing all three people aboard.

The cause of the Nov. 19 crash remains under investigation, but local officials have suggested that a large number of geese in the area may be to blame.

The NTSB report says residents near the accident site reported hearing a boom and seeing a fire plume. The helicopter was traveling from Pine Bluff to pick up a patient in Helena-West Helena.

Medical Helicopter crash Dewitt
KATV-Channel 7

Officials have identified the three people who were killed when a medical helicopter crashed in eastern Arkansas.

Pafford Air One identified the victims as 46-year-old pilot Michael Bollen of Hot Springs, 61-year-old flight nurse James Lawson Spruiell of Sulligent, Alabama; and 26-year-old flight paramedic John Auld III, who went by the nickname Trey, of Shreveport, Louisiana.

Highways traffic Big Rock Interchange interstate
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas has opened a 45-day comment period on whether highway officials should let motorists drive at higher speeds.

Legislators this year approved raising interstate highway speeds to 75 mph, and also OK'd increases on other roads, if doing so can be done safely.

As it opened a public comment period Monday, the state Department of Transportation said technology could have a greater impact on fatalities than speed. It noted that better vehicle safety is reducing the fatality rate, but texting and telephone use offsets part of that.

State Sen. Bart Hester (R-Cave Springs) and Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department Director Scott Bennett presenting the governor's highway bill to a committee.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas highway officials are leaving open the possibility they'll take a road funding proposal to lawmakers in 2019 rather try to put it on the ballot next year. The move comes after the state's governor said he'll oppose any plan to take general revenue to fund road improvements.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) talking to reporters in his Capitol office.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

In advance of an Arkansas Highway Commission meeting, Governor Asa Hutchinson said he will not support directing general revenue funds to highways. He told reporters on Tuesday that he will oppose any ballot initiative that would re-direct general funds for roads.

“Those are funds that are necessary for education, for public safety and all the other needs of our state. So, I say no we can not divert that general revenue stream that’s needed for education, higher education, and other needs over to highways,” said Hutchinson. “That’s an important principle that needs underlining.”

Arkansas Department of Transportation

UPDATE: Tuesday afternoon, the Arkansas Department of Transportation announced stationary traffic cameras can now be viewed on the traveler information website www.idrivearkansas.com. Visitors to the website will have to click on the traffic light image on the right side of the screen, make sure "traffic cameras" is clicked, then can select any camera to view from a map of the state.

ORIGINAL STORY:

The Broadway Bridge spanning the Arkansas River between Little Rock and North Little Rock is one of twelve projects that have been named finalists in the 2017 America’s Transportation Awards competition.

The competition is sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), as well the AAA motor club and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Hope Union Pacific
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Union Pacific Corp., which operates more than 1,300 miles of railroad track in Arkansas, announced plans to cut up to 750 jobs that will impact management and administrative positions across the company’s operations.

According to an 8K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Union Pacific’s board of directors approved and initiated the personnel reorganization plan to further its “ongoing efforts to increase efficiency and more effectively align company resources.”

Pizza
Arkansas Department of Transportation

Arkansas highway officials shut down westbound lanes of a cross-country interstate for four hours so crews could pick up pizza.

An 18-wheeler containing DiGiorno and Tombstone frozen pizzas scraped a bridge support and sliced open its trailer Wednesday, spilling them across Interstate 30 in front of the Arkansas Department of Transportation office. Agency spokesman Danny Straessle said the bridge had only cosmetic damage.

Interstate 40 Interstate 55 West Memphis
peggydavis66 / Wikimedia Commons

A study is to be completed by the end of summer on whether Arkansas should raise the speed limits on interstates in rural areas to 75-miles-per-hour.

One of the new state laws going into effect Tuesday, which was passed earlier this year by the Arkansas General Assembly, opens the possibility.

"It doesn’t mean we will go out and do it, it just enables us to," said Danny Straessle, spokesman for the department that on Tuesday will become known as the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

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