Arkansas Transportation

A long-term highway bill appears to be headed to conference with all four Arkansas members of the U.S. House of Representatives voting with the majority to approve the bill. The 371-54 vote on HR 22 came Thursday morning after debate late Wednesday involving dozens of amendments for the bill.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Wednesday that any state highway funding solution should be revenue neutral and that the formulas that pay for highways should be changed. 

He told reporters afterwards that this was the first time he had publicly expressed support for a revenue neutral proposal.

Highway Officials Say Changes Being Considered To I-30 Expansion Proposal

Nov 4, 2015
I-30 interstate 30 construction
KATV, Channel 7 News

Representatives from the Arkansas Highway & Transportation Department presented a nearly hour-long report to citizens and the Little Rock Board of Directors Tuesday night, offering assurances that they are listening to concerns about a proposed expansion of Interstate 30 in the downtowns of Little Rock and North Little Rock.

Fayetteville plane crash bill simon
Courtesy Kelley King / KATV, Channel 7 News

A small plane that made an emergency landing along an Arkansas highway was piloted by the former CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Bill Simon told The Associated Press that he unfurled a parachute that brought the plane down on Arkansas 16 outside Fayetteville High School in northwest Arkansas. Simon says he suffered a burn as his air bag deployed.

Police say all three men aboard the plane were taken to a hospital, as was a woman whose truck was hit by the falling plane. Police say only minor injuries were reported.

I-30 interstate 30 construction

The Little Rock Board of Directors is to hear from the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department Tuesday evening on the Department’s plans for a proposed $600 million expansion of Interstate 30 through the city. 

The project has attracted criticism in recent weeks for what opponents say will hurt development in the city’s downtown. Ward three city director Kathy Webb plans to eventually introduce a resolution opposing the plan.

It was a busy Wednesday in the nation’s capital as the House overwhelmingly approved a two-year budget blueprint for the nation, while the Senate passed a three-week extension to the nation’s highway bill.

The House voted late Wednesday 266-167 to approve HR 1314, an $80 billion funding bill that was supported by 79 Republicans and 187 Democrats while the bill was opposed by 167 Republicans.

I-30 interstate 30 construction

As concerns grow louder about a proposal to widen Interstate 30 between I-530 in Little Rock and I-40 in North Little Rock, the Little Rock Board of Directors is expected to vote soon on a resolution to oppose the plan.

A draft of the resolution says expanding the interstate from six to 10 lanes would damage the thriving downtown area, impede access to areas east of the interstate and further divide Little Rock with no positive benefits for its residents. The 6.7 mile stretch carries 125,000 vehicles through the downtowns of the two cities.

A local collective of urban planners is raising objections to the planned widening of a section of  Interstate 30, running through Little Rock

Interstate highway big rock interchange interstates 630 430
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A task force is finalizing a list of options to increase funding for Arkansas' highways that include various revenue transfer and tax increase ideas but is stopping short of endorsing a specific plan.

A draft of preliminary recommendations reviewed Thursday by the Governor's Group on Highway Funding outlines several ideas for increasing money for state roads over the next few years. The panel is expected to complete its report to Gov. Asa Hutchinson next month.

The Arkansas Highway Commission has approved bids on multiple projects in the state, including a $16 million plan to widen U.S. 167 in northeast Arkansas.

Transportation officials announced Wednesday that construction will begin in the next month on the U.S. 167 project, which will widen a 4.5-mile stretch to four lanes near Cave City. The project is expected to be complete by mid-2017.