Arkansas Transportation

Parts of a northeast Arkansas highway will be closed through at least Friday as crews make repairs following last week's train derailment.

The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved several bids for road improvements in the Jacksonville area.

The largest of the bids announced Tuesday is a nearly $42 million project to reconstruct and widen 1.3 miles of U.S. 67 in Jacksonville.

The project includes replacing the bridges over Redmond Road and Main Street, and resurfacing interchange ramps. Work on that project is set to begin within the next month and should be complete in early 2016.

Arkansas Highway & Transportation Dept.
Arkansas Highway & Transportation Dept.

Arkansas highway officials say they want to divert additional funds to its maintenance operations so they can respond more quickly to severe winter weather.

Scott Bennett, the head of the Arkansas Department of Highways and Transportation, says the agency needs to respond to problems that popped up after a March ice storm. Motorists in eastern and northeastern Arkansas were stranded for hours after crews were unable to clear the highways.

waterways.arkansas.gov

Now that Congress has overwhelmingly passed a water resources bill, which awaits President Obama’s signature, officials who oversee Arkansas’s navigable waterways say infrastructure along the state’s rivers will likely benefit. All members of the state’s congressional delegation supported the legislation.

Three members of the Arkansas congressional delegation say five airports in the state will share in $2.9 million in federal grants.

Sens. Mark Pryor and John Boozman and Rep. Tim Griffin announced Thursday that the Federal Aviation Administration is awarding the grants for airport facility upgrades and improvements.

Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A pedestrian and bicycle trail that runs alongside Coleman Creek through the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock is now open.

On Monday, local leaders and school officials celebrated completion of the project with a dedication ceremony. The trail links 19th Street on the north side of campus, with Asher Avenue to the south.

A broad coalition of groups and businesses came together to work on the project. UALR Chancellor Joel Anderson also credited Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines for his efforts.

Salvage operations for a barge that overturned and sank last week in the Mississippi River in northeast Arkansas are expected to begin.

Spokesman Richard Wheatley for Kinder Morgan says recovery of the submerged vessel will begin Tuesday and should end Friday, depending on the weather. Wheatley says steel coils that fell into the water need to be removed before the boat is raised.

Bicycle Trails Arkansas Bikes
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A series of public meetings are being held around Arkansas, as officials work to develop a state plan to improve bicycle and pedestrian availability.

“I think our main goal is to find out from the people what are some of the bike and pedestrian issues," Robert Patten, a national planner with Toole Design Group, told  a small gathering Wednesday at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

He said they're considering issues like safety and access for people wanting to be able to bicycle in areas that may not have dedicated lanes or bike trails.

Barge traffic is shut down on the Arkansas River in western Arkansas after damage was discovered on a railroad bridge.

Officials say two broken cables tilted the northern end of the bridge in between Fort Smith and Van Buren. Train crews discovered the dysfunctional rail late Monday when a northbound train was heading back from Fort Smith.

The cables are used to raise and lower the bridge.

Arkansas State Highway commissioners have accepted two bids that total nearly $3 million for road improvements in Pulaski County.

The commission met Monday in Little Rock and approved a $2.2 million bid from Redstone Construction Group, Inc. of Little Rock to widen Scott Hamilton Drive between Interstate 30 and Baseline Road in southwest Little Rock.

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