Arkansas Transportation

I-30 interstate 30 construction

The Little Rock Board of Directors is to hear from the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department Tuesday evening on the Department’s plans for a proposed $600 million expansion of Interstate 30 through the city. 

The project has attracted criticism in recent weeks for what opponents say will hurt development in the city’s downtown. Ward three city director Kathy Webb plans to eventually introduce a resolution opposing the plan.

It was a busy Wednesday in the nation’s capital as the House overwhelmingly approved a two-year budget blueprint for the nation, while the Senate passed a three-week extension to the nation’s highway bill.

The House voted late Wednesday 266-167 to approve HR 1314, an $80 billion funding bill that was supported by 79 Republicans and 187 Democrats while the bill was opposed by 167 Republicans.

I-30 interstate 30 construction

As concerns grow louder about a proposal to widen Interstate 30 between I-530 in Little Rock and I-40 in North Little Rock, the Little Rock Board of Directors is expected to vote soon on a resolution to oppose the plan.

A draft of the resolution says expanding the interstate from six to 10 lanes would damage the thriving downtown area, impede access to areas east of the interstate and further divide Little Rock with no positive benefits for its residents. The 6.7 mile stretch carries 125,000 vehicles through the downtowns of the two cities.

A local collective of urban planners is raising objections to the planned widening of a section of  Interstate 30, running through Little Rock

Interstate highway big rock interchange interstates 630 430
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A task force is finalizing a list of options to increase funding for Arkansas' highways that include various revenue transfer and tax increase ideas but is stopping short of endorsing a specific plan.

A draft of preliminary recommendations reviewed Thursday by the Governor's Group on Highway Funding outlines several ideas for increasing money for state roads over the next few years. The panel is expected to complete its report to Gov. Asa Hutchinson next month.

The Arkansas Highway Commission has approved bids on multiple projects in the state, including a $16 million plan to widen U.S. 167 in northeast Arkansas.

Transportation officials announced Wednesday that construction will begin in the next month on the U.S. 167 project, which will widen a 4.5-mile stretch to four lanes near Cave City. The project is expected to be complete by mid-2017.

I-30 interstate 30 construction

A nearly half-billion dollar highway construction project to widen a section of Interstate 30 running through Little Rock and North Little Rock is the focus of a public meeting scheduled for Thursday night in North Little Rock. KUAR's Chris Hickey recently spoke with State Representative Warwick Sabin of Little Rock who raises objections about what the project might do to the social and economic climate of the city.


Arkansas Highway Boss Speaks At Blytheville Chamber, Talks Bypass Work

Oct 19, 2015
Highways traffic Big Rock Interchange interstate
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

There are two options available for increasing revenue for much needed highway projects: raise taxes or transfer funding from existing line items in the state budget, Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department director Scott Bennett told a Blytheville chamber group Monday.

Bennett spoke during the monthly chamber luncheon at the Blytheville Holiday Inn in front of about 40 people. After an introduction from Blytheville chamber director Liz Smith, Bennett spoke about highway funding and the state agency.

Interstate 30
Arkansas Highway & Transportation Dept.

Half of Arkansans believe the condition of the state’s roads is “a major problem that deserves attention,” but 64% oppose raising motor fuels taxes to address it, according to a poll by Americans for Prosperity.

Forty-five percent strongly oppose a motor fuels tax increase, and half said a legislator’s support for an increase would make them less likely to vote for him or her. The group, which supports smaller government and lower taxes, surveyed 500 voters by phone, 30% of those by cell, Sept. 22-24.

Governor's Working Group on Highway Funding
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Governor’s Working Group on Highways has been meeting for months to discuss possible solutions for short-term, medium-range and long-term funding goals to maintain and repair Arkansas highways. 

Currently, the task force is focused on short-term funding and is seeking to come up with approximately $110 million in new annual revenues for roads.