Arkansas Transportation

Hughes Street Interstate 630 I-630 expansion
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

As a construction zone is being set up to widen a 2.2-mile stretch of Interstate 630 in Little Rock, a federal lawsuit aims to bring the $87.4 million project to a halt. One lane is to be added in each direction between Baptist Health Medical Center and University Avenue.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas argues that a proper environmental assessment was not conducted. Attorney Richard Mays is asking for a temporary restraining order which would stop construction until the lawsuit can be heard in court.

Interstate 630 highway construction
David Monteith / KUAR News

The speed limit is being reduced and concrete barriers are going up along a 2.2-mile stretch of Interstate 630 in Little Rock. Unless the weather causes delays, lanes will be closed beginning Monday night to prepare for the placement of concrete safety barriers along the stretch of the interstate between University Avenue and John Barrow Road.

30 Crossing
Arkansas Department of Transportation

A final public meeting on plans to expand a 6.7 mile stretch of Interstate 30 in Little Rock took place Thursday evening in North Little Rock. The Arkansas Department of Transportation presented an environmental assessment on the project, which would run through the downtowns of Little Rock and North Little Rock.

The environmental assessment is a nearly 4,000 page report on the proposal to expand I-30 to 10 lanes. Department spokesman Danny Straessle says the $630 million project is necessary to fix unsafe ramps downtown.

A rendering of an expanded I-30 corridor in downtown Little Rock. 30 Crossing
Arkansas Department of Transportation

The Arkansas Department of Transportation is holding a final public hearing Thursday on a proposed expansion of a 6.7 mile stretch of Interstate 30 through the downtowns of Little Rock and North Little Rock.

The meeting will take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel at 2 Riverfront Place in North Little Rock. The department, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is seeking public input at the hearing.

Rock Region Metro transit buses CAT central arkansas transit
David Monteith / KUAR News

A new executive director is getting settled in at Rock Region Metro. Charles Frazier says he hopes to expand the role of public transit in central Arkansas. Frazier comes to Little Rock from Palm Beach County, Florida where he was an assistant director at Palm Tran, the transit agency there. 

Scott Bennett Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department Director
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A draft of President Trump’s infrastructure plan leaked two-and-a-half weeks ago is “very much a rich get richer plan” that wouldn’t result in large amounts of money for Arkansas, Department of Transportation Director Scott Bennett said Thursday.

Bennett made his comments to the Arkansas Legislative Council’s Highway Commission Review and Advisory Subcommittee.

The memo describing the plan’s framework was leaked Jan. 22, but the White House has said it will unveil its full $1.5 trillion plan Feb. 12.

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.

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