Arkansas Transportation

Motorists driving west on the Cantrell Road viaduct near Little Rock's Riverdale neighborhood may have felt quite a jolt Friday after a sizable hole developed in one lane of the elevated roadway.

todaysthv.com

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department is planning for another major highway redesign in the Little Rock area. After crews finish re-construction of the I-630/430 “Big Rock” interchange at the end of next year, contractors will bid on plans to revamp the I-30/430 interchange in southwest Little Rock. Nearly 100,000 vehicles travel through the interchange each day.

Michael Hibblen

A former state lawmaker, who has led efforts concerning state highways in previous years, was appointed Thursday to the Arkansas Highway Commission.

Former House Speaker Robert Moore was named to a 10-year term, replacing commission Chairman Madison Murphy, whose term is expiring.

Moore said he realizes the significance and challenges of maintaining good highways and will look for innovative new ways to meet the challenges of funding needed work.

Little Rock Airport
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Little Rock National Airport is being renamed in honor of Bill and Hillary Clinton. The airport's commission unanimously approved the name change Tuesday after hearing comments from the public.

Arkansas House Speaker-elect Darren Williams told the panel he believes it is an appropriate way to honor the 42nd President and the Secretary of State. 

Rock Island Clinton Presidential Park Bridge Bill Clinton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Former President Bill Clinton led a dedication ceremony Friday in Little Rock for a new $10.5 million pedestrian and cycling pathway over the Arkansas River, which was built inside an old railroad bridge. He was joined by his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, daughter Chelsea, and the mayors of Little Rock and North Little Rock.

"This bridge is important because first, it keeps the promise we made," Clinton told the crowd. "We came up with the money that turned out to be two and a half times what the original estimate was to complete this trail loop.  It’s important.  I’m proud of it."

It was originally hoped that work to renovate the bridge, which was built in 1899, would be completed in time for the dedication of the Clinton Presidential Center in 2004.  But increasing costs led to it being repeatedly delayed.

Two Rivers Park Bridge
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Hundreds of people came out Friday, many with their bicycles, for the dedication of the new Two Rivers Park Bridge.

"Welcome to your new bridge!” Pulaksi County Judge Buddy Villines said to a cheering crowd. 

The $5 million pedestrian and bicycle bridge crosses the Little Maumelle River where it meets the Arkansas River and links the Arkansas River Trail with Two Rivers Park. Construction of the bridge, which took a year build, was funded with 80 percent federal dollars and Pulaski County paying the rest. 

Michael Hibblen / KUAR

Includes personal reflections by KUAR's Michael Hibblen.

Work is finally getting underway to renovate the 111-year-old Rock Island Bridge adjacent to the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock. Former President Bill Clinton is to lead a groundbreaking ceremony Friday morning at the bridge, which at one time was slated to be torn down.

The pledge to renovate the railroad bridge was made nine years ago, but beginning the work was repeatedly delayed, prompting some to wonder if it ever would happen. Now, after securing funding from numerous sources, the $10.5 million project is finally ready to get underway.

“We are standing at the foot on the south side of the Rock Island Bridge, now known as the Clinton Park Bridge.  It was renamed last week by Little Rock City Board of Directors," said Clinton Foundation spokesman Jordan Johnson.

It will serve as the eastern end of the 14 mile river trial.

“This will be a ramped pedestrian bridge, completely ADA compliant," said Jordan.  "We're looking at the trusses here and there will be, in essence, a bridge built inside the existing structure.  So we're going to preserve the existing structure, but also build a footpath through it that will level off at the lift span and then gradually go back down to the North Little Rock side."

Rock Island
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A battle is brewing in Saline County between community leaders who want to build a highway over an abandoned railroad bed and homeowners who say it would encroach on their property.  It would provide another route connecting Benton and Little Rock.

Walking on a clear path where tracks once carried the trains of the Rock Island Railroad, Irene Thompson said, "Looking at it, it's unbelievable isn't it?" But she and her husband Tommy dread the thought of a highway being constructed on their property.

“If they build this highway in here then we’d have a straight shoot from Little Rock trouble to Benton trouble and we just really don’t want that kind of crap coming down here,” said Tommy Thompson.

The couple has lived there nearly half a century and bought a small stretch of the Rock Island right-of-way, which bordered their property, after the railroad went bankrupt and was shut down in 1980.

Pages