Arkansas Transportation

Two separate accidents on the fast-flowing, swollen Mississippi River caused barges to break loose.

The Coast Guard says the first occurred Monday night along the eastern boarder of Arkansas when a towboat pushing barges struck a pier of the Helena Highway Bridge, sending four barges traveling free.

They were secured at about 3:40 a.m. Tuesday. Officials say two barges containing about 2.4 million gallons of denatured alcohol were damaged and were taking on water.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he'd prefer one special session on the future of the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion and highway funding, but hasn't ruled out asking lawmakers to address the issues at separate times.

Hutchinson told reporters Wednesday he's meeting Feb. 1 with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell about his proposals to rename and add restrictions to the "private option." The program, crafted as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law, uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for the poor.

Highways traffic Big Rock Interchange interstate
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he'll issue recommendations on boosting funding for state highways next month after receiving a report from a panel he formed to study the issue.

Hutchinson said Wednesday he's received the report from the Working Group on Highway Funding he created to look at ways to close the shortfall for the state's roads. The panel last month recommended the governor look at a range of options, including increases in fuel taxes and tapping into general revenue.

new broadway bridge
Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department

Crews are preparing to begin work on a major component of the new Broadway Bridge to connect Little Rock and North Little Rock.

The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department says the steel that is needed to build arches for the new bridge will start arriving this week.

Sample of Arkansas Driver's License.
Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration

Starting next year Arkansans issued driver’s licenses will only have to renew them every eight years. The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration announced the change from four to eight years on Monday in accordance with legislation passed earlier this year. The cost  of the license changes from $20 to $40.

The Red River in southwest Arkansas.
US Geological Survey

A portion of the Red River in southwest Arkansas is being studied for potential development as a navigable waterway.

 

The US Army Corps of Engineers is looking at the potential construction of three locks and dams that would allow commercial barges to carry heavy materials like steel and rock on the Red River. The project would affect about a 110-mile stretch from Shreveport, Louisiana to nearby Texarkana and Fulton, Arkansas.

 

Saline Old River Bridge
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A $500,000 grant will allow work to begin restoring the second-oldest bridge still standing in Arkansas, which crosses the Saline River in Benton. It's hoped it will eventually be part of an extensive cycling and pedestrian trail between Little Rock and Hot Springs.

Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department

A public comment period is drawing to a close on the proposed widening of Interstate 30 through Little Rock and North Little Rock, known as the "30 Crossing" project. Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department Officials are accepting public input through Sunday on the expansion, estimated to cost about 600 million dollars. 

The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved a plan to designate a 44-mile stretch of U.S. 63 as Interstate 555 in eastern Arkansas.

The designation runs from Interstate 55 in Crittenden County to U.S. 49 in Jonesboro. Highway officials say that stretch of road has been known as "Future I-555" for nearly 15 years.

Congress must approve its $281 billion transportation bill for the new designation to take effect. On Tuesday, the House and Senate announced that an agreement has been reached on the measure, with a final vote expected by the end of the week.

Highways traffic Big Rock Interchange interstate
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

An October poll by the Good Roads Foundation found that Arkansans support more funding for highways but would oppose any increase in the gas tax above 2 cents per gallon.

The study was conducted by WPA Opinion Research and sponsored by the Good Roads Foundation, a group that supports increased funding for highways. 

Pages