Arkansas Transportation

Hope Union Pacific
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Union Pacific Railroad says it will double the speed of its trains passing through Hope.

The Texarkana Gazette reports the company will increase speeds from 30 mph to 60 mph. The speeds will be increased in 5 mph increments until Dec. 22.

A Union Pacific spokesman says the company had been restricting the speeds through the city but is making the change after completing signal and track improvements. He says more collisions occur with slower trains and that drivers will have to wait less time at crossings.

Interstate 30
Arkansas Highway & Transportation Dept.

Arkansas drivers will encounter 28 miles of lane closings on major highways over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The  Highway and Transportation Department said Friday that four major highways will have construction-related lane closures: Interstates 40, 430 and 530, plus U.S. 67.

The new Interstate 49 from Texarkana, Arkansas, to Shreveport, Louisiana, is now officially open. Highway officials and others from Arkansas and Louisiana gathered at the state line Monday for a ribbon cutting to open the segment.

The interstate will eventually connect Kansas City, Missouri, with New Orleans. In Kansas City, the interstate will connect with Interstate 29 to create a 1,700-mile interstate from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada to New Orleans.

The Uber app connects passengers with drivers using personal cars who are not direct employees.

There is now another option besides taxis and buses to motor around Little Rock but it may not be legal. The ride-sharing service Uber began operations in Little Rock Thursday. It connects would-be passengers and drivers using personal cars through a mobile app.

In recent months the city of Little Rock has been crafting a new ordinance to regulate Uber’s operation with their input.

Arkansas and Missouri Railroad excursion train
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on a train collision in northwest Arkansas that left dozens of people with minor injuries.

The collision happened Oct. 16 when an Arkansas & Missouri Railroad locomotive struck a passenger excursion train that had stalled on tracks near Brentwood. The locomotive had been dispatched to offer assistance to the stalled train.

Arkansas and Missouri Railroad excursion train
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Two passengers on an excursion train that was struck head-on by another train in northwest Arkansas have filed civil lawsuits against the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad.

Corliss Johnson of Rogers and Margaret Harkins of Lowell have filed separate lawsuits against the railroad in connection with the Oct. 16 collision. Fayetteville television station KHOG reports that both Johnson and Harkins say they paid $107 to ride the excursion train for a scenic tour.

A Missouri company selected to replace a central Arkansas bridge says a six-month closure is tentatively set to begin in May 2016.

Last month, Massman Construction Company of Kansas City, Missouri, won the single largest contract ever awarded by the Highway Commission to work on the Broadway Bridge. It crosses the Arkansas River and connects downtown North Little Rock with downtown Little Rock. The project is estimated to cost $98.4 million.

According to the contractor's preliminary project schedule, the new bridge is set to open in November 2016.

Arkansas and Missouri Railroad excursion train
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Authorities say a freight train has collided with a sight-seeing passenger train in northwest Arkansas, critically injuring about five people.

The passenger train was carrying tourists on a fall-foliage tour in the Ozark Mountains when the accident occurred Thursday near Winslow, about 175 miles northwest of Little Rock.

Washington County Emergency Management Director John Luther says 50 people were aboard the two trains, and 37 were able to walk away from the accident.

The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved a bid of nearly $1 million for road improvements in Cabot and Maumelle.

The commission announced Monday that it awarded a $977,000 contract to Cranford Construction Co. of North Little Rock for the projects. Construction is set to begin within the next two to four weeks with completion planned by the end of the year.

The improvements include resurfacing 5.4 miles of roadway in Cabot and 1.3 miles of roadway in Maumelle.

A $98.4 million dollar bid has been accepted for the replacement of the Broadway Bridge that crosses the Arkansas River and connects downtown North Little Rock with downtown Little Rock.

The Arkansas Highway Commission and Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department said Friday they have accepted the bid from Massman Construction Company of Kansas City, Missouri.

The project is the single largest contract ever awarded by the Highway Commission.