Arkansas Transportation

Republican Attorney General-elect Leslie Rutledge at KUAR during the 2014 May Primary run-off.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas attorney general's office has referred a request to investigate the construction of two Washington County bridges to the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department.

In a letter to Washington County Judge Marilyn Edwards, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says she does not have jurisdiction to investigate concerns the Stonewall Bridge and the Harvey Dowell Bridge are unsafe. Rutledge referred the request to the Highway Department and noted other concerns should be addressed in court.

Washington County Judge Marilyn Edwards has asked the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to inspect all county bridges built in the last 20 years.

Edwards sent a letter to Highway Director Scott Bennett asking for the inspections, her office confirmed Wednesday. KHOG-TV reports that Edwards also sent a letter to Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, asking her office to investigate the safety of the Stonewall Bridge and the Harvey Dowell Bridge.

galleryhip.com

New speed limits for big-rig trucks take effect Monday when Highway Department crews fan out around the state to take down the old signs.

The speed limit for trucks will now be the same as it is for cars in Arkansas—70 miles-an-hour on most interstates. Since 1996, trucks traveling in Arkansas have had a speed limit of 65 miles-an-hour, five miles-an-hour slower than passenger vehicles. 

Highway Department Spokesman Danny Straesle said that caused congestion because trucks were unable to pass one another, stacking up cars wanting to go faster behind them. 

Arkansas Pump Prices Up Nearly 30 Cents Since Late January

Mar 3, 2015
Brian Herzog / Flickr

All that it took to change the direction of pump prices and tighten the gasoline market across the U.S. was an earthquake-like explosion and fire at ExxonMobil’s sprawling refinery complex in southern California, the U.S. Energy Department said in its monthly refinery outage report on Feb. 27.

The report, produced by the Energy Information Administration, noted that unplanned refinery outages have noticeable effects on the nation’s fuel market, disrupting the supplies of gasoline and other distillates like diesel fuel, heating oil, kerosene and jet fuel.

Little Rock Public Works and the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department are refocusing their attention from salt trucks to potholes following recent winter weather.

Although a specific weather event doesn’t create an instant pothole, Public Works Operations Coordinator Mark Jacobi said two weeks of snow and ice have contributed to some damage on area roadways.

"We like to try to repair them as fast as we can because what’s really bad is when the water finally soaks through underneath the asphalt and gets into the sub-base material,” Jacobi said.

The president of the Arkansas State University System says a bill to compensate for dwindling highway maintenance and construction funding would be "catastrophic" for higher education in the state.

Charles Welch told the system Board of Trustees on Friday that he opposed the bill approved a day earlier by the House Public Transportation Committee.

Central Arkansas Transit Authority CATA bus
David Monteith / KUAR News

Public transportation in the Little Rock area will undergo some major changes this summer. In July, 15 new buses with a noticeably different paint scheme will be added to the fleet as Central Arkansas Transit Authority, or CATA, becomes known as the Rock Region METRO.

The modern buses and new branding are part of a broader project known as Move Central Arkansas. Leading the effort is Executive Director and CEO Jarod Varner.

Arkansas River
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Funding for a key project to protect commercial river traffic on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System is included in President Barack Obama’s 2016 federal budget, which was delivered to Congress Monday.

With many similar projects vying for funding, officials with the Arkansas Waterways Commission are celebrating the news.

Scott Bennett Highway and Transportation Department
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A report released Tuesday says Arkansas motorists are losing about $2 billion a year through higher vehicle costs because of the poor condition of roads and bridges.

The non-profit national transportation research group TRIP says 32 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in urban areas and 23 percent in rural areas are in poor condition. 23 percent of Arkansas bridges, the group says, are in need of repair, improvement or replacement.

Hernando de Soto Bridge spanning the Mississippi River between West Memphis, AR and Memphis, TN.
wikipedia.org

The FBI wants law officers assigned to areas around the Mississippi River bridges at Memphis, Tennessee, to keep an eye on the spans after a vague threat that one would be blown up. FBI spokesmen said Tuesday the threat was unsubstantiated but that local police were still notified.

Two cross-country routes traverse the Mississippi River at Memphis - Interstates 40 and 55. They remained open.

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