GOOD ROADS The Award-Winning Magazine of the Arkansas Good Roads Foundation
Foundation Good Roads. Good for All.
Two Workers Killed in Two Months Spurs Work Zone Safety Effort
ROADS LEAD TO WEEKEND ESCAPES. Roads are literal and metaphorical connectors. They provide essential delivery of our daily needs – they also lead us to the things that matter most. As Americans, we depend on them for our safety and for our livelihoods. At Ergon, we are proud to work in communities across America helping build and maintain vital infrastructure that connects us all to what matters most.
6 From the Executive Director 7 By the Numbers 8 New Designation 9 Keep It Clean 10 Future Mobility 12 Company Profile 14 Work Zone Safety 20 Q & A: Joe Ledvina
Good Roads helping publicize safety campaign.
Key infrastructure statistics.
Section of Highway 63 now part of Interstate 555.
ARDOT launches new anti-litter campaign.
Governor wants council to keep Arkansas a leader in this industry.
For over 25 years, HDR Engineering has completed numerous projects across the state.
ARDOT leads the effort to protect road workers.
ARDOT’s Wildflower Program is an umbrella for many of the botanical responsibilities handled by this department botanist.
26 Arkansas W.I.N.S. 30 Transportation Connections 33 In Plain Sight 34 Joining Forces 35 Side Roads: Key Takeaways From Summit 38 Back Talk Governor explains his new initiative to boost state’s success.
Promotions and latest projects among AGRF member companies and organizations.
Popeye has his own park in Alma.
Crafton Tull acquires B & F Engineering.
Companies share workforce development solutions.
Officials on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.
ON THE COVER: Arkansas Department of Transportation workers improving a rural Arkansas road. Dozens of crews work across the state each day to make our roads and communities better. We are all committed to making this work safer. Thanks again to ARDOT photographer Rusty Hubbard for another of his remarkable photographs that capture moments in time on both interstates and quiet back roads.
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FROM 2018 THROUGH 2021,
WORK ZONE CRASHES INCREASED BY
We can all do our part to help. Work zone safety is everyone’s job.
For more information, visit:
2022 EXECUTIVE BOARD Dan Flowers – North Little Rock President D.B. Hill, III – Little Rock Vice President Bob Crafton – Rogers Secretary/Treasurer Harold Beaver – Rogers JoAnne Bush – Lake Village Mark Hayes – Little Rock Lance Lamberth – Batesville Robert Moery – Little Rock Shannon Newton – Little Rock Chris Villines – Searcy Jim Wooten – Beebe
Dan Flowers President
D.B. Hill, III Vice President
Bob Crafton Secretary/Treasurer
Harold Beaver Rogers
JoAnne Bush Lake Village
Mark Hayes Little Rock
Lance Lamberth Batesville
Robert Moery Little Rock
Robert S. Moore, Jr. Arkansas City
Shannon Newton Little Rock
Chris Villines Little Rock
Jim Wooten Beebe
ARKANSAS GOOD ROADS FOUNDATION The Arkansas Good Roads/ Transportation Council was established in 1975 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt and tax-deductible organization. In 2015, the council was re-established as a foundation in order to be a more visible and credible voice on behalf of the mission of the Arkansas Highway Commission and the Arkansas Department of Transportation. The purpose of the foundation is to promote adequate funding and financing for the planning, development, construction, and maintenance of a safe and efficient highway, street, road, and bridge system, including transportation enhancements. The work increases statewide economic growth, private sector job creation and retention, and improves the quality of life in all Arkansas counties, municipalities, and communities.
Joe Quinn, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org Bill Paddack, Editor email@example.com Celia Blasier, Designer firstname.lastname@example.org
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Executive Director’s Message I It’s not often that I encounter something in life that I can’t stop thinking about. But I will be honest with you that writing the cover story this month about the deaths of two good people who worked for the Arkansas Department of Transportation stays with me. Winfred Petty and Kurt Jonathan Cottier died Joe Quinn after being struck by vehicles while doing their jobs. The driver who hit Petty never bothered to stop and Cottier was struck by an 89-year-old man driving alone on an interstate at 1:45 a.m. Good Roads is using our audiences and platforms to help ARDOT push a new campaign reminding drivers to slow down and put the phone down near work zones, but we all have to do more than that. The next time you approach people working on any type of road, ask yourself how you would drive if that was your dad or brother or uncle or mother working three feet away from traffic buzzing by. Then use that approach to drive through the work area. It’s the very least we owe people trying to make roads safer for our own families. Please take a few minutes to read our article on road worker safety. Also in this issue, reminders that the infrastructure discussion in Arkansas has never been more vibrant. Issue 1 and the federal infrastructure package have created steady funding streams for the years ahead, and we are now able to focus on projects that can really change the quality of life and drive local economies. Governor Establishes Council Governor Hutchinson has thoughts on an array of new workforce development programs producing innovative approaches to get all our members the young talent they need to function and to look to the future. Every member we have is talking about that workforce issue. The governor has also created a Council on Future Mobility that will look at the future of transportation and how that will involve drones and autonomous delivery trucks getting groceries to our kitchens. The council will work to address potential barriers to making this a seamless process. Arkansas Trucking Association President Shannon 6 Good Roads Foundation | Spring 2022
Newton and ARDOT Director Lorie Tudor will be a part of the council. Shannon also joins us this month with a guest column on how her industry looks at the supply chain and labor issues facing the country. Company Profile HDR Engineering is featured in this issue, talking about the projects it’s involved in across the state. More than ever before, sophisticated engineering companies are joining our effort to tell the story of the work that goes into building a roadway system that is both cost efficient and helps communities. Elsewhere, ARDOT’s Joe Ledvina tells us about a new program to promote wildflowers in support of the monarch butterfly. In a Q & A with Good Roads Editor Bill Paddack, he describes this initiative and talks about the additional responsibilities he and other botanists handle for the department. Drive safely my friends. Put the phone down so you can watch out for road workers and enjoy the wildflowers Joe Ledvina is planting for you around our beautiful state. And as always we would love to have you as a Good Roads member. Call me at 479-426-5931 if you would like to discuss.
By the Numbers
The percentage increase in the past 10 years in commute times in Arkansas. Each driver pays an average of $671 per year in costs related to driving on bad roads.
The estimated number of electric vehicles in Arkansas today. The state will receive $244 million over five years for investments in public transportation from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) and $54 million over five years to expand the state network of electric car charging stations.
A big number indicating a big problem. A recent analysis of U.S. bridges by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association has found that nearly this many bridges across the country need major repairs. In analyzing the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2021 National Bridge Inventory Database, the association found that more than a third (36%) of all the bridges in the country need major repair work or need to be replaced. Among those, nearly a fifth (43,578) were considered structurally deficient. Arkansas has 663 bridges and 6,711 miles of highway in poor condition. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will fund $278 million for bridges in Arkansas over the next five years, with $5 million to be spent in 2022.
Attendees at the January Arkansas State Highway Commission meeting were told that in 2021 the Arkansas Department of Transportation awarded $500 million in funding for 195 projects. In 2022, ARDOT will award $1 billion in funding for various projects. Arkansas will receive $3.8 billion in funding over the next five years as a result of the federal highway funding formula for roads and bridges.
The amount of improvement money that will flow to Arkansas airports in the next five years.
The amount the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will deliver to help ensure that every American has access to reliable high-speed internet through a historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment. Broadband internet is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning, health care and to stay connected. Yet, by one definition, more than 30 million Americans live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds – a particular problem in rural communities throughout the country.
Spring 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 7
From left, Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce President Mark Young, Arkansas State Highway Commission Vice Chairman Alec Farmer, ARDOT Director Lorie Tudor, Jonesboro Mayor Harold Copenhaver and Craighead County Judge Marvin Day.
Section of 63 at Jonesboro Now Part of I-555 The Arkansas Department of Transportation has redesignated a portion of Highway 63 in Jonesboro as part of Interstate 555. The section of Highway 63 between U.S. Highway 49 South (Southwest Drive) and Highway 91 (Dan Avenue) is now officially part of the Interstate 555 system. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) determined that the 4.8-mile segment meets interstate standards and have approved the designation. The conversion of Highway 63 to interstate standards between Interstate 55 and Highway 91 began with a 1987 earmark of $2 million from 8 Good Roads Foundation | Spring 2022
Congress. Since that time, more than $300 million, including $65.2 million in earmarks, has been invested to upgrade this vital corridor that links the Jonesboro region with Interstate 55 and the Memphis metropolitan area. “I want to express my appreciation to Arkansas’ past and present congressional delegation, my fellow Highway Commissioners and ARDOT Director Lorie Tudor and her staff for their work on this very important corridor,” Arkansas State Highway Commission Vice Chairman Alec Farmer said. “And, of course, I want to thank our local area leaders who over the last five decades worked so hard on improving Highway 63 to bring us to this point.”
Keep It Clean, Arkansas By Britni Padilla-Dumas, ARDOT
The Arkansas Department of Transportation launched its new anti-litter campaign, Keep it Clean, Arkansas, last fall at the Arkansas State Fair. Arkansas has the 12th largest highway system in the nation with more than 16,000 miles of roadway to maintain and keep litter-free. For every one mile of road, Arkansas averages 2,000 pieces of trash – that adds up to almost 32 million pieces of litter each year. ARDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway (AAH) program helps address litter by allowing volunteers such as individuals, groups and organizations to pick up trash along the highway. With more than 900 groups across the state – and more added each day – there is an ongoing effort to keep Arkansas clean. “Even with that many volunteers, ARDOT still spends an average of $5 million each year picking up trash,” reported Holly Butler, executive assistant for ARDOT’s Public Information Office. “One of my duties is to oversee the Adopt-A-Highway program. We absolutely love our volunteers, but it’s clear that picking up trash isn’t the problem – littering is.” ARDOT’s new Keep It Clean, Arkansas campaign
Since 2004, ARDOT’s Litter Hotline has enabled the public to anonymously report littering. Offenders are notified by mail they were observed violating the law.
866-811-1222 or IDriveArkansas.com
focuses on educating the public about the long-term damage caused when litter hits the highway. “Trash doesn’t just stay on the side of the road,” Butler explained. “It also gets washed into nearby rivers, lakes and streams, and pollutes waterways and aquatic habitats. Things we consider harmless trash can take hundreds of years to decompose. When you look at the big picture, the litter problem is overwhelming.” The campaign will provide anti-litter educational resources to classrooms, scout troops, community outreach events and through ARDOT’s social media platforms. ARDOT is challenging everyone to do their part – recycle when available, but when that isn’t an option, throw the trash away properly!
Time It Takes For Litter Items To Breakdown/Decompose Plastic Bottle: 450 years Aluminum Can: 200 years Cigarette Butt: 10 years Cardboard Box: 2 months Spring 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 9
Governor Hutchinson Creates Future Mobility Council Underneath a projection Arkansas needs this council to “We want to lead in continue to be a national and screen showcasing the future of transportation with future mobility.” world leader in this sector. By futuristic electric vehicles, a making the proper infrastructure – Gov. Asa Hutchinson drone delivering products to investments it will accelerate a customer and autonomous building the effective framework delivery trucks currently operating in Bentonville, to continue to create economic opportunities. The Gov. Asa Hutchinson in late February proclaimed that council will help keep Arkansas as a global leader in Arkansas will continue to lead the world with smart the development of advanced mobility for the future. mobility and signed an executive order that established “In Arkansas, we take on some of the biggest the Arkansas Council on Future Mobility. challenges,” Hutchinson said. “We work for solutions Cyrus Sigari, co-founder of UP Partners, will and that is what this council is doing. We want to lead serve as chairman of the council, which will include in future mobility.” representatives from Walmart, Canoo, J.B. Hunt, The industry of advanced mobility has already been Entergy, the Arkansas Trucking Association, the in motion with companies like Walmart and Gatik Arkansas Auto Dealers Association, the University being the first to have fully autonomous box trucks of Arkansas, Southern Arkansas University Tech and driving in retail operations. Since 2021 they have several state agencies. driven over 200,000 autonomous miles and were the ARDOT Director Lorie Tudor and Arkansas first to remove the safety operator from the driver seat. Trucking Association President Shannon Newton, Canoo, an electric vehicle manufacturer that who is an AGRF board member, were both named to recently opened its headquarters and industrialization council by the governor. facility in Arkansas, was able to showcase its future “Today will lay the foundation for Arkansas’ with the purpose-built pickup truck that runs on leadership in the transportation industry for decades to electricity. The governor was able to step into the come,” Hutchinson said. “Arkansas is already home future by sitting in the driver’s seat of the electric to a growing number of mobility companies that are vehicle from Canoo. investing and operating in the state.” The primary roles of the council will be to identify state laws that create barriers to advanced mobility and make policy recommendations and ideas for incentives that will support the development of advanced mobility. They will also be actively searching for opportunities to work with innovative companies and create partnerships with businesses looking to push the future of mobility. The council will submit a final report to the governor by Nov. 30. The governor said that because of the advancements in mobility Gov. Asa Hutchinson gets behind the wheel and checks out the electric vehicle from Canoo. 10 Good Roads Foundation | Spring 2022
TRASH FACTS Between Adopt-A-Highway volunteers and ARDOT maintenance forces, litter is picked up almost daily across Arkansas, but it’s not enough! Each year, 32 million pieces of litter are left along Arkansas’ 16,000 miles of highway—that’s 152 pieces of trash for every one person. In 2020, Adopt-A-Highway groups spent 1,700 hours and picked up more than 2,400 bags of trash. Additionally, ARDOT spends an average of $5 million annually to pick up litter.
GET INVOLVED Help keep Arkansas clean by recycling when you can and using a trash can when you can’t. For more information about our AdoptA-Highway program or the educational opportunities for Keep It Clean, Arkansas, contact the Public Information Office at email@example.com. We can all do our part and Keep It Clean, Arkansas!
Spring 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 11
Company Profile: HDR Engineering
Partnering With HDR For a Better Arkansas 30 Years and Counting
Submitted by AGRF member HDR Engineering A postage stamp was only 29 cents. Compact discs surpassed cassette tapes as the preferred medium for recorded music. The year 1992, was also when HDR started their first project with the Arkansas Department of Transportation. We haven’t stopped working with ARDOT since. In 2003, we opened a Little Rock office on West Markham Street establishing a permanent footprint in the area. Over the last 25-plus years, we have completed numerous projects across the state, including work on roadways and bridges, signal and geotechnical projects, and construction engineering inspections. Some of our work over the years includes: • Widening US 71 and the Texarkana Northern Loop in the I-49 Corridor (Miller County). • U.S. 71 Relocated (I-49) through Fort Chaffee east of Fort Smith from Jenny Lind to I-40 at Alma. • Several interstate rehab projects under the Interstate Rehabilitation (Bond) Program, including I-540 and I-40 in Fort Smith and Van Buren and I-40 in Pulaski and Lonoke Counties. • Design of the El Dorado U.S. 167 Bypass from Hwy. 82 to Hwy. 63. • Design of segments of the Springdale Northern Bypass (Benton and Washington Counties) as a subconsultant. 12 Good Roads Foundation | Spring 2022
• Design of new bridges for the reconstruction of the I-430/I-630 (Big Rock) Interchange in Little Rock as a subconsultant. • Construction Engineering and Inspection Services for the widening of US 70 from I-30 to Hot Springs (Garland and Saline Counties). HDR is currently providing bridge design and plans, roadway design and plans, and geotechnical engineering services as a subconsultant on the 30 Crossing Design/Build project for the Connecting Arkansas Program. The By the Numbers project includes the reconstruction HDR’s 2021 Engineering News-Record Rankings and widening No. 6 Design Firm of I-30 from downtown Little No. 6 Transportation Rock, across the No. 3 Bridges Arkansas River, to the Northern No. 6 Highways I-30 terminal No. 7 Mass Transit & Rail interchange with I-40. The project No. 11 Airports corridor has an No. 4 Marine & Port Facilities average daily
Company Profile: HDR Engineering traffic of over 130,000 vehicles. that makes us unique. At HDR, we believe home It is the single largest project We specialize in engineering, that transportation architecture, environmental, and undertaken by the department. HDR has a solid national systems should serve construction services. While resume in alternative delivery our transportation focus is on a greater purpose for transportation projects, roadway design (#6 largest ENR including design/build, than simply – U.S.) and bridge design (#3 progressive design/build, largest ENR – U.S.), we also transporting owner’s representative, and are strong players in transit/ Construction Manager/General people and goods. rail, aviation, ports/maritime, Contractor (CM/GC) projects. and construction engineering “HDR has a lengthy and inspection nationally. strong history with ARDOT in many areas, and we We help clients with everything from navigating will continue to place our focus on ARDOT, but will IIJA and other funding sources to managing program also continue to grow our Arkansas client base within development and design and providing construction ports, transit, and aviation where the need fits,” said management for new and established systems. Our Mark Grey, Associate Vice-President and Office wide-ranging Arkansas portfolio includes design of Principal for HDR locally. “By bringing the resources new and rehabilitated freeways, new and improved and resume of a national firm together with our local state highways and local roads, interchanges, office and staff, we look forward to many more years traffic signals, safety improvements, pedestrian of serving our clients in the State of Arkansas.” infrastructure, transit systems, and port facilities. A lot can change in more than 100 years. At HDR, we believe that transportation systems Technologies improve, communities evolve, should serve a greater purpose than simply people come and go. But to withstand a century of transporting people and goods. Mobility in the modern disruptions, you must be built on a solid foundation. era should improve the community’s overall wellAt HDR, that foundation has always been our being and quality of life. Whether managing multicommunities. year infrastructure programs, updating legacy systems, When H.H. Henningson founded the Henningson designing new systems, or planning for growth and Engineering Company in Omaha, Nebraska, in the integration of new technologies, we are passionate 1917, his focus was not on mega projects or global about tackling our clients’ most challenging projects expansion. It was on helping rural Midwest towns and enabling great things to happen across all modes adapt to a changing world. The Rural Electrification of transportation. Act of 1930 opened new opportunities in the years Learn more about HDR at www.hdrinc.com. following. It brought a young engineer named Willard Richardson, who would later become the “R” in HDR. In 1940, Chuck Durham, the “D,” joined the firm. Over the next decade, Henningson Engineering would reach new heights, outgrowing its office space three times between 1937 and 1953. Around then, the firm became Henningson, Durham, and Richardson, Inc. - and later HDR. Today, we are nearly 11,000 employees with more than 250 offices around the globe. And while this means we can bring an impressive breadth and depth of services to our clients, it’s our commitment to the place we call Spring 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 13
Work Zone Safety
ARDOT Leads Effort To Protect Road Workers By Joe Quinn, Executive Director
Jeremy Bolt still has nightmares about Dec. 8 last year when he and his wife Mitzi could have died while working as part of a crew on an Arkansas road project. In the dream he feels pieces of debris flying at him from a nearby crash and he is fighting to avoid cars racing toward him. While he and his wife survived, they will never look at life quite the same. Their colleague, Kurt “Jonathan” Cottier, was hit by a car that night and succumbed to his injuries 11 days later. Cottier was 28. He had only been working with the Arkansas Department of Transportation for three months when he was hit by a car while working on Interstate 40 in rural Conway County. The driver of the car was 89-yearold Martin Peterman of Stillwater, Okla. Peterman was traveling westbound on I-40. It was approximately 1:40 in the morning when his small car drove past the orange barrels and entered the work zone. The roads were dry and the weather clear.
Winfred Petty (left) and Kurt Jonathan Cottier.
14 Good Roads Foundation | Spring 2022
Work zones are characterized by traffic pattern changes, narrowed rights-of-way and the proximity of construction workers to streets and highways. (ARDOT Photo)
Slow down. Put the phone down. It’s the very least we owe the workers trying to improve our roads and our lives. Spring 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 15
Work Zone Safety Jeremy and Mitzi were truck. He was Police agencies investigating my just feet away at the time driving alone, he just hit-and-run accidents have looked very confused, of the incident. The Bolts were working for Level made progress in recent and I had to tell him Best of Hermitage, doing he hit someone. God years partnering with auto the grind work on the was looking out for job. A grinding company manufacturers to create a us that night. My wife uses a sophisticated piece was working near the unique auto identification of equipment to smooth grinding site, and I had over the bumps where one data base. urged her multiple times section of new asphalt to take a break. She meets the next. finally did and went back to our truck. God sent me Cottier was standing outside an ARDOT truck to get her out of there. If she hadn’t moved, I have no talking to his supervisor who was sitting in the truck doubt she would have been hit.” when Peterman’s vehicle hit him. Bolt felt a piece of The report filed by the Arkansas State Trooper plastic from the initial crash hit the back of his leg working the accident checked a box that indicated and he turned to see Cottier injured, and the Peterman Peterman engaged in “inattentive, careless, negligent vehicle now headed toward him. Bolt was able to push or erratic operation” of a vehicle. A second checked himself off the moving car and then watched Peterman box said Peterman was “driving in a lane that was start to drive away. barreled off for closure.” Bolt ran to the still moving Peterman vehicle and Cottier was airlifted to UAMS and never woke started pounding on the trunk telling him to pull over. up before he passed away on December 19th. His Peterman finally stopped. family buried him on Christmas week. A post on an Bolt says, “I started running to my truck to go online memorial site said he went through life with an after him, but I caught up to his car before reaching “infectious smile.”
Jeremy and Mitzi Bolt
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‘Everybody Drives So Fast’ Kelly Cottier remembers her son as someone always willing to help others. “He was really the sweetest, kindest boy you could ever have,” she said. “He would do anything for anybody. He could fix anything. He enjoyed hunting and hiking and he was always interested in Arkansas history. He would go to all these historical sites. It was nice to have somebody to mow your yard and do the weed eating and fix the cars.” Jeremy Bolt speaks softly when he talks about Jonathan and his belief that God pushed him to get Mitzi out of the spot where moments later Cottier would be hit. Speaking on the phone about the crash, Bolt steps out of his house to stand in the yard while we speak. He says, “Mitzi is still having a real hard time. We both are. It’s just easier if she doesn’t hear me go through all this again. This was actually the third incident we have been involved in working on I-40. Our equipment was hit by vehicles at two other job sites.” Kelly Cottier says her son was aware ARDOT
Work Zone Safety
always has safety procedures in place, but some in recent years partnering with auto manufacturers to drivers still don’t pay attention. “He said everybody create a unique auto identification data base. Chips of drives so fast, people were always knocking down the paint or small pieces of a vehicle left at a crash site barrels and stuff like that,” she said. “He said even can be traced with remarkable accuracy to a part or though sometimes there was a State Trooper there paint used on a specific vehicle produced on a certain at the end of the construction zone, people just drive date at a specific production facility. This technology right by, and they don’t even care. They didn’t even is helpful for officers looking for a vehicle that left the slow down or nothing. He was airlifted to UAMS and scene of an accident. never woke up after that.” Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler As of this writing no charges have been filed in a says, “There is an amazing level of cooperation now crash that killed the young man with the bright smile. between auto manufacturers and police agencies to The Cottier story is tragic, but not unique. Six identify small parts of a vehicle either found Slow Down, Phone Down is a statewide work zone safetyprecisely campaign urging after Cottier killed, longtime at the scene or zone. found on the victim of the hit and run.” drivers weeks to slow down andwas putstruck their and phone down when entering a work ARDOT worker Winfred Petty was hit and killed Sadler says the State Police have worked closely Not only are these the two most important measures we can take to prevent by aninSUV working a job site in Little Rock. with ARDOT over the years to make roads safer. accidents workwhile zones, but speeding and/or using your phone in a work Theillegal. driver Fines sped away. Pettyviolations was 69 years and “Ourzones troopers are out of their cars at road work and zone are for traffic areold doubled in work when had worked at ARDOT for 25 years. In the early accident sites all the time,” he said. “We understand workers are present. evening of Jan. 17 Petty was putting up construction signs on Interstate 30. Nine days after the fatal hit and run, Arkansas State Police arrested 37-yearold Crystal Johnson of North Little Rock. She was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and filing a false police Fines double report. If a driver receives a citation for any moving The Arkansas State Police accident traffic violations in a work zone, they will pay report says there were “no signs of double the fine. braking” by the vehicle that struck Petty. Leave your phone alone Petty was wearing an orange reflective Holding your phone to take a call, send a vest as he crossed the highway. He was text, look up directions, or scroll social media struck at 8:20 p.m. and was pronounced counts as a moving traffic violation. Hands-free dead 40 minutes later at UAMS. connections are a much safer option for In the obituary, the grieving Petty communicating while driving. family asked that in lieu of flowers, Watch your speed friends and family make donations to the When approaching a work zone, you will see Arkansas Crime Victims Compensation orange barrels, cones, road work signs, etc. At Fund. this point, you can safely assume the speed limit The Arkansas State Police are not will be significantly reduced. Slow down, put In 2018, more than 1,200 work zone crashes part of ARDOT, but the troopers, as well your phone down, and watch for posted speed were reported in Arkansas. In 2021, the as the men and women in the Arkansas limit signs. number jumped to more than 2,100. Highway Police, know what it’s like to Back off workyears, beside anwork interstate with traffic In four zone Fender-benders are one of the most common moving fast. The troopers didn’t know types of collisions in work zones – and following crashes in Arkansas have Winfred Petty personally, but they had too close is typically the cause. Use the increased more than with 70%. shared the by roadside workplace him. 3-second rule: Keep 3 seconds of distance
INCIDENTS & INJURIES ARE ON THE RISE:
ArDOT, Arkansas State Police and Auto ID Data Base Arkansas Highway Police are taking Police agencies investigating hitaction to stop this alarming trend.
and-run accidents have made progress
THESE RULES APPLY
WHEN WORKERS ARE PRESENT IN A WORK ZONE:
between you and the car in front of you; add another second when driving in inclement weather; double the number of seconds when driving behind a large truck.
Spring 2022 | Good Roads Foundation Beginning February 2022, Arkansas State Police and Arkansas
Work Zone Safety
how dangerous it can be walking beside a busy road a text takes their eyes off the road for a fraction of a in daylight during clear weather, but it’s even more second and a life is immediately at risk. dangerous to be working beside any road when it’s dark.” New Safety Campaign The woman arrested in Petty’s death, Crystal The Arkansas Department of Transportation is a Johnson, is walking free as of this writing. She is out large agency, but in some ways it’s also a small place of jail on a $10,000 bond. whereis everyone knows eachzone other.safety Employees tend tourging Slow Down, Phone Down a statewide work campaign Many drivers don’t think much about the people stay for a long time, internal promotions are common, drivers to slow down and put their phone down when entering a work zone. working on road crews on interstates, county roads is low and theremeasures are dozenswe of can families who Not only are these theturnover two most important take to prevent and city streets. Drivers tend to see orange barrels have had multiple generations work at the department. accidents in work zones, but speeding and/or using your phone in a work and think of mildly inconvenient zone trafficare delays. TheyFines It’s also a culture where is aware wezones all need illegal. for traffic violations areeveryone doubled in work when don’t understand the reality that only a slight of to be part of the effort to make road work safer. workers arelack present. attention by a driver can Arkansas Good Roads send a vehicle off course members are coming and into hard working together in 2022 to people just doing their jobs. help ARDOT roll out From 1982 to 2019 the a campaign to remind average number of road drivers to slow down and worker fatalities in the start paying attention to Fines double United States was 774 per the safety of workers. If a driverThe receives a c year. On a night when the campaign is called traffic “Slow violations in a wo wind is blowing, and rain Down-Phonedouble Down.”the fine. has made the road slick, ARDOT Director Lorie Leave your phone alo it is an especially difficult Tudor says, “This campaign Holding your phone to time to be standing in an is about spotlighting theup directions text, look interstate work zone. The vulnerability counts of the people as a moving tra bright white lights set up on doing jobs inconnections work zones, are a mu the work site reflect crisply and also about the safety communicating while off the yellow helmets of our friends and families Watch your speed and vests the workers are who drive in or near work When approaching a wearing. Although the work zones every day.” orange barrels, cones, zones are well lit, and signs In some states electronic this point, you can safe posted mile in advance, the license plate scanners will be significantly red In 2018, more than 1,200 work zone crashes workers remain vulnerable. are being used in work your phone down, and were reported in Arkansas. In 2021, the limit signs. A driver flipping through zones to send citations number jumped to more than 2,100. radio stations or reading to drivers traveling over
INCIDENTS & INJURIES ARE ON THE RISE:
18 Good Roads Foundation |
In four years, work zone Spring 2022 in Arkansas have crashes
THESE RULES A
WHEN WORKERS PRESENT IN A WO
Back off Fender-benders are on types of collisions in wo too close is typically th
Work Zone Safety the speed limit in those narrow spaces. So far, the scanner technology has not been approved or deployed in Arkansas. But Tudor is increasing the number of Arkansas Highway Police officers who will be stationed near work zones. They will step up the effort to cite drivers for handheld phones, speeding, following too close or other types of reckless and distracted driving. In recent weeks, ARDOT has rolled out the campaign to remind drivers about the need to be cautious and pay attention in work zones. Ellen Coulter at ARDOT says, “We want to run a campaign to let people know what is happening in the work zones. This is not a ‘gotcha’ effort, this is about giving every driver as much notice as possible that we all need to be working together to make driving safer.” ‘We Have to Do Better’ Park Estes is executive director of the Arkansas Asphalt Pavement Association (AAPA). At a recent State Highway Commission meeting, he said AAPA will do whatever is needed to support the new campaign, telling the commissioners, “In the short amount of time the commission has been meeting this morning, statistics indicate there have already been 16 work-zone accidents across the country. We have to do better.” Sadler says, “In my early years here a young trooper told me he never liked the word accident because accidents don’t just happen. National highway groups in recent years have moved away from the word accident and use the word crash. There are always factors and variables involved that lead to a deadly crash.” But whether the word crash or accident is used, these road deaths are often handled as a less serious offense. An investigative story by ABC News looked at the fact that in America, any type of death involving a vehicle hitting a person not in a vehicle is often treated differently than other types of traffic-related deaths. According to ABC News, “Between 2006 and 2017, the national number for annual fatal hit-andruns has ranged between 1,220 and 2,089, according to American Automobile Association research and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But sources in government and the legal community told ABC News that people charged with fatal traffic offenses are regularly offered plea deals that allow them to avoid significant jail time.”
Jeremy Bolt says he and his wife were surprised that there wasn’t more talk in the highway community about the Kurt Jonathan Cottier death aside from some brief mentions in local news coverage. Bolt says, “I think the driver who killed Jonathan was taken to the hospital for blood tests for drug and alcohol use, but I don’t think he was ever charged with anything.” Kelly Cottier was recently asked if she had a message for drivers in work zones. “Slow down,” she said. “Remember that these are people who have family that love them. They’re not like robots or something, these are real people who have family that care about them. And they’re trying to do a service to the state and to the other drivers. The problem is how fast people drive through there [work zones]. I know there is supposed to be a speed limit through there but how many people actually slow down? I love my son a lot. I miss him every day.” When you approach a work zone while you drive, think for a moment about Jonathan Cottier and Winfred Petty. Think about their grieving families. Slow down. Put the phone down. It’s the very least we owe the workers trying to improve our roads and our lives.
Spring 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 19
Q & A: Joe Ledvina
These showy evening primrose decorate the median along I-40 near Conway. (ARDOT Photos)
Botanist Joe Ledvina Plays a Role In Helping Beautify Our Roadways While Preserving Native Plants By Bill Paddack
“We are shifting to no-till methods to establish these wildflower areas, which requires more lead time and more field visits, but has a better chance of long-term success.” – Joe Ledvina
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You may think orange cones and barrels will be the only colorful things you’ll see as you drive roads and highways in Arkansas this spring and summer. But keep an eye out for a variety of beautiful wildflowers growing beside our roadways and in interstate medians. These include showy evening primrose (with its cup-shaped pink flowers), lance-leaf tickseed (a perennial often referred to as coreopsis that boasts daisy-like bright yellow flowers), prairie tickseed, black-eyed susan, prairie blazing star (which features a spectacular spike of tightly bunched lavender-purple flowers) and the familiar purple coneflower, which like many wildflowers is very popular with both bees and butterflies.
Q & A: Joe Ledvina Besides providing a pop of color and an attractive roadside environment along Arkansas highways, these plants are mainstays in the Arkansas Department of Transportation’s Wildflower Program that strives to reduce long-term maintenance costs, enhance roadside wildlife habitat and preserve native plant populations. It’s a part of what Joe Ledvina works on as a botanist for the department. Ledvina is a Michigan native who has lived in Arkansas since 2017. He’s president-elect of the Arkansas Native Plant Society. He’s spent his career, which includes work in Virginia and South Carolina, monitoring vegetation, collecting plant specimens, conducting habitat assessments and preparing numerous manuscripts and reports. At ARDOT, he’s developed tools and processes to monitor wildflowers and pollinator habitat to improve mitigation monitoring and developed a protocol for wildflower establishment using no-till methods. A magna cum laude graduate of both Clemson University (Master of Science in wildlife biology) and Eastern Michigan University (Bachelor of Science in biology), he also holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Michigan. Ledvina obviously appreciates and values the role of wildflowers and native plants, but don’t expect him to single out one over the others. “It would be very hard to choose a favorite wildflower – there are so many beautiful or strange ones, species with unusual life-histories and adaptations,” he said. “And then there are those that I see often, but only in certain habitats, so it feels like running into an old friend.” In the following Q & A, we asked him about his work, the responsibilities of a botanist with the transportation department and the importance of ARDOT’s Wildflower Program. What is the role of a botanist with ARDOT? As a member of the Natural Resources Section in the Environmental Division, much of my time is spent evaluating upcoming construction jobs to ensure compliance with the Endangered Species Act and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. A project in development is assigned to one of five of us. I am therefore responsible for roughly one fifth of the jobs that are currently in development. We identify potential impacts to streams and wetlands and the potential for the presence of and impacts to endangered species. We may have to conduct and/or
coordinate surveys for rare species and we may have to develop plans for wetland or stream restoration to mitigate for planned impacts. The wildflower program is an umbrella for several of my major botanical responsibilities. The most public-facing is our Operation Wildflower program, which has been in place for decades. When an individual or group contacts us with an interest in sponsoring the planting of native wildflowers, I coordinate with the relevant district staff to find an appropriate area at an acre in size. Some areas may have planned future construction or may not be compatible for other reasons. Much of our right-ofway is just too narrow, and a narrow strip would not be able to fend off the return of the Bermuda grass and tall fescue for very long.
“ARDOT has initiated a new program to promote wildflowers in support of the monarch butterfly. ARDOT made an agreement with the Fish and Wildlife Service which ensures that our roadside maintenance policies are minimally detrimental to monarchs and promises to expand our efforts to establish monarch habitat.” – Joe Ledvina The sponsor purchases the seed, with the order usually placed by me, and I coordinate the site prep, seeding and subsequent maintenance. We are shifting to no-till methods to establish these wildflower areas, which requires more lead time and more field visits, but has a better chance of long-term success. ARDOT is a partner in the Arkansas Monarch Conservation Partnership, and I serve on the steering committee of that group. ARDOT has initiated a new program to promote wildflowers in support of the monarch butterfly. The butterfly, which has been in Spring 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 21
Q & A: Joe Ledvina decline for years, was recently classified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act. ARDOT made an agreement with the Fish and Wildlife Service which ensures that our roadside maintenance policies are minimally detrimental to monarchs and promises to expand our efforts to establish monarch habitat. If the monarch does become listed, any wildflower areas that we establish under this program could be considered as mitigating factors when considering potential impacts to the monarch. This agreement also requires annual monitoring of these wildflower areas, plus the monitoring of a set of baseline plots across the state, which I began last year. I also get to do some other plant surveys. A plant survey is required before any planned construction on U.S. Forest Service properties, mostly to look for rare plants that may be impacted. I also conduct all the monitoring of ARDOT’s stream and wetland mitigation properties. We own several of these properties, which are established to offset construction impacts in compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Annual monitoring is required for several years after establishment, which can include tallying survivorship of planted trees and documenting that wetland vegetation still predominates in wetland areas. Finally, I review applications by utility companies to manage vegetation on our right-of-way and I review species lists for landscape plans involving our right-of-way. Under an executive memorandum issued by President Bill Clinton, we are not allowed to plant invasive species. The Federal Highways Administration also encourages us to plant regionally native species “at every opportunity.” These landscape Black-eyed Susan
22 Good Roads Foundation | Spring 2022
Blazing star flowers blooming along Highway 7.
plans are submitted by businesses or other property owners who want to landscape on our right-of-way adjacent to their property, and they tend to select mostly non-native species. I recommend native species with similar desirable characteristics and tell them whether any of their chosen species are invasive that will not be allowed. Tell us a little bit about your previous work in Virginia as a plant ecologist for the Smithsonian Institution. I worked as a contract plant ecologist at the Smithsonian Biological Conservation Institute, in a team led by ecologist Bill McShea. The major purpose and result of my position was a paper synthesizing seven years of plant diversity research on working grasslands, pastures and hayfields with non-native, cool-season grasses like tall fescue and orchard grass, some of which had been converted to native warm season grasses, along with some former “working” fields that had been converted to native grasslands for conservation. This work was all done in cooperation with private landowners and employed volunteer “community scientists” for much of the field work. Over the years, details about field management had been difficult to get from the landowners, so our analysis was limited, but we did find evidence that no-till methods of installing natives may lead to better diversity of native wildflowers and less return of invasive species a few years down the road. In addition to cleaning and standardizing a mountain of data and leading the statistical analysis and publication, I led some of the 2017 plant surveys and trained and helped to coordinate volunteers. I also got to do a variety of plant surveys in a large patch of forest that’s part of a Smithsonian project using
Q & A: Joe Ledvina standardized methods to monitor forest changes and study forest function and diversity across the globe. It was exciting to do my little part in such a large, longterm, global project.
have the most widespread success, while the others are more hit-and-miss, at least in part due to having to compete with the Bermuda grass. Along with moving to no-till methods for our wildflower establishment areas, we are also increasing What does ARDOT hope to accomplish with its the diversity of the seed mixes that we sow, following wildflower program, and why is this important? recommendations for establishing natives from As you probably know, the landscape in Arkansas our local Quail Forever biologists. We are also looks quite a bit different than it did 100 or even incorporating seeds from the Arkansas Native Seed 20 years ago. Continued urban development, the Program, which distributes seed collected locally by expansion of herbicide use and the spread of invasive volunteers to local farmers, who plant them as row species have relegated our native wildflowers to the crops, harvest the seeds and send them to a native margins. Often, those margins are our roadsides. The seed company for processing and sale. These native major focus must be to maintain the areas with native genotypes are often better adapted to local conditions. wildflowers that we still have. On the flipside, when non-local cultivars are It takes decades to centuries for a robust and very competitive and crowd out the local genes, the diverse native community to develop. We can establish overall genetic diversity of the species is reduced. We wildflower areas, but these generally will not match have recently seeded diverse native mixes on some native wildflower areas as repositories of plant of our mitigation properties. Our newest Operation diversity and sources of food for native insects and Wildflower planting, on the newly constructed other animals within our lifetimes. We have designated I-49 Bella Vista Bypass near Punkin Hollow Road, more than 1,200 miles of roads as Wildflower Routes includes 25 wildflower species, and nine of those were where we do not broadcast herbicide, but only spotcollected and farmed in Northwest Arkansas. spray to manage invasive species. Our Native Wildflower Areas are smaller patches that protect certain rare species or habitats with the same prohibition against broadcasting herbicide. The importance of the naturally occurring areas does not diminish the importance of also re-establishing native species where we can. Many of our insect species, like the monarch, rely on native wildflowers to survive. Non-native plants often do not provide the same resources as natives and therefore do not support as many native insects. Many of these native insects also pollinate our crops or garden plants. If some native insects decline to extinction, other native species, like spiders and birds, may not be far behind, and the cascade towards homogenization could continue and build on itself. Less biodiversity means less resilience to landscape changes and climate fluctuations. What wildflowers can Arkansans expect to see this spring and summer that ARDOT has planted and cultivated, and along what highways? All ARDOT construction projects include a provision that the contractor plant six species of native wildflowers: showy evening primrose, lance-leaf tickseed, prairie tickseed, black-eyed susan, prairie blazing star and purple coneflower. The first three
Coreopsis blooming at the Mayflower exit on Interstate 40.
Spring 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 23
Not Just a Job By Shannon Newton
President, Arkansas Trucking Association If not you, someone in your life has felt the effects of the workforce shortage and the supply chain disruptions. Your favorite restaurant, neighborhood grocery store, the shop where you get your oil changed and any other businesses you frequent have experienced longer waits or service changes to cope with leaner staffing and short inventory. Sometimes the empty shelves we face are because there are not enough people on the clock to pack the products, load the trucks, drive them to the dock, unload and stock the aisles. Everyone is becoming more aware of what trucking has always known: every link in the supply chain affects the timing and performance of all the links in the chain around it. For the past two years, multiple links have been tested. You read about the Suez Canal being blocked for five days and interrupting global trade. You
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can’t escape news of the threat of a third World War as Russia continues its violent invasion of Ukraine. You heard that a compromised password for the Colonial Pipeline halted oil distribution last spring. Each time, there is a pause or break up the chain, it will ripple down. For years, one of the top concerns in the trucking industry has been a driver shortage. The nationwide truck driver shortage grew from 61,500 pre-pandemic to 80,000, despite substantial pay increases over that same time period. It’s a long-term problem that has rippled down to shippers and consumers. The bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that Congress passed in November was called the American Jobs Plan. As the name suggests, it promises to send a lot of Americans to work rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure. Pilot Program The American Jobs Plan also included a piece of the puzzle for trucking jobs – apprenticeships for young truck drivers. Under the plan, up to 3,000 18- to 20-yearold drivers will undergo supervised training in vehicles equipped with advanced safety technologies. This program, the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program, will make these trained younger drivers eligible to operate as their older counterparts with some additional training and technology until they turn 21. You’ve probably seen the headlines reporting that teenagers will soon be driving big rigs, and in some of those articles, there’s an implication that this news should scare us, that driving trucks is too dangerous, and that young people can’t be trusted with the responsibility. What you might not already know is that 18-yearolds have already been driving trucks in America for decades, but the barriers that have prevented them from developing in their careers and contributing more capacity to the industry has not made the roads safer. In fact, this pilot program raises the bar on safety. Currently, in Arkansas, 48 other states and the District of Columbia, 18- to 20-year-olds are eligible for commercial driver’s licenses and to operate large
Guest Commentary commercial vehicles. As Congressman Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) has pointed out during House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee hearings, 18-year-olds are already responsible for this kind of heavy equipment when they fight for their country. However federal law prohibits these younger drivers from engaging in interstate commerce. What does this interstate commerce restriction look like in action? Someone under 21 years old can earn their CDL and pull 80,000 pounds of farm equipment 300 miles from one side of the state to the other, but they can’t carry a trailer of products from a terminal in Texarkana, Ark., across town to a business in Texarkana, Texas. The young professionals are already driving, but they are limited by borders, not experience. Personal Mentors This apprentice program is a win-win for the general public and aspiring professional drivers as it – first and foremost – improves safety for all motorists while also supporting our volatile supply chain. The 18-year-old drivers of today aren’t required to have advanced training just because they aren’t 21. They take the same test and receive the same CDL as their older colleagues. The 3,000 men and women selected for the program will study under an experienced driver, receiving a personalized education. And beyond the
personal mentor, they will also be supported by the most advanced safety technology on the market. Before their 21st birthday, apprentices in the pilot program will have an additional 400 hours of training. Those are hours, access to technology and advice from a mentor that the current younger drivers are not promised. Additional training and technology translate to more experienced and better trained drivers on the road, which means safer highways for everyone. Beyond the safety benefits are the economic implications of the program. The Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program doesn’t just create jobs, it provides career paths for young adults who want to avoid the expense of a four-year college degree. And with a deficit of roughly 80,000 truck drivers nationwide, that career path is lined with companies ready and willing to hire. To sustain the supply chain – and by that, we mean provide you with the food, medicine and goods you use every day – we need more and better-trained drivers. Expanding access to driving careers has the potential to make businesses run smoother and keep aisles lined with full shelves of product. We welcome these new apprentices. Their success means your safety and is connected to the whole community’s success. If the past has taught us nothing else, we are all linked.
Spring 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 25
From the Governor
By Gov. Asa Hutchinson I’d like to talk about how Arkansas has grown stronger over the last year and my plan for continuing that growth into the future. Thanks to the people of Arkansas, we have made this state one of the premier locations for business owners to put their roots down and conduct business that gives well-paying jobs to hard-working Arkansans and puts more money into our state. Last December, we ensured that the state can meet its obligations while being able to lessen the impact of the state’s income tax burden by passing the largest tax cut in the history of Arkansas. Arkansas has a duty to provide solutions to the needs of its people, and we are able to do that and more while also lowering their burden. Every decision I have made has been driven by my desire to improve the quality of life in Arkansas. Whether the issue is creating a trained workforce, investing in our infrastructure, or strengthening Arkansas families, the underlying question always has been – and always will be: “Will this make our state a better place in which to live and work?” W.I.N.S. Program W.I.N.S. is my newest initiative that aims to push Arkansas even closer to being the best place the state can be. Each letter in W.I.N.S. stands for a pillar that I will focus on to boost Arkansas to success. Workforce Training, Infrastructure, New Economy Jobs and Strengthening Arkansas Families should be the priorities that can help Arkansas WIN.
The future success of our state demands that we make it as easy as possible for skilled workers in need of jobs and businesses in need of those workers to find each other and create success together. Initiatives like the Ready for Life program will make it easier for employees and employers to find each other, and it will offer business leaders a quick snapshot of the employee pool in Arkansas as they recruit talent. Ready for Life is for those who want to improve their skills or change careers as well as gather career and employment data from business and industry. It will strengthen the state’s workforce and offer business leaders better information about the state’s talent pool. This initiative combines a gold mine of information about educational and employment opportunities. Ready for Life will make it easier for employees and employers to find each other.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will provide funding to repair roads and bridges and support major, transformational projects. (Photo by Bill Paddack)
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From the Governor Investing in Infrastructure Our infrastructure Serving Individuals With Disabilities Our infrastructure is is the backbone of Lastly, but certainly the the backbone of everyday most important, strengthening operations in this state, and it everyday operations families. Our focus is worth investing in to create in this state, and it Arkansas will be to give families the best a better quality of living. Last year, I created the Infrastructure is worth investing chance of success and to protect children from child abuse Planning Advisory Committee in to create a better our and crime. We must engage that will analyze the relief quality of living families by supporting them with available to Arkansas under the the proper connections and safety Infrastructure Investment and net. Jobs Act of 2021. The Developmental Disabilities Medicaid Waiver They will identify the priorities of Arkansas and is a good example. It allows us to provide services make recommendations for the most efficient and to individuals with intellectual and developmental effective applications of the relief. disabilities. The waiting list for this waiver is of The future is coming, and the world will need great concern to us, and we have a commitment and workers to join the new, high-growth industries a plan to address it. That list represents thousands of that are on the cutting edge of technology. These Arkansas families, and we aim to give them hope for new industries are going to be the driving force of the future. economic growth and productivity in our state and Arkansas is in a prime position to continue winning around the world. My push for computer science thanks to developments we have made so far and for education was just one way that will help bolster what is to come. Arkansas’ status in a new age economy.
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To Our Valued AGRF Members: Thank You!
Thanks for supporting us and helping us tell the story of why good roads and bridges matter. For membership information, please contact Joe Quinn at 479-426-5931. ACEC/A AGC Arkansas Alec Farmer APAC-Central, Inc. APAC-Tennessee, Inc. Arkadelphia Alliance Arkansas Asphalt Pavement Association Arkansas Concrete Arkansas Department of Transportation Arkansas Farm Bureau Arkansas Municipal League Arkansas Poultry Federation Arkansas Society of Professional Engineers Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce Arkansas State Police Commission Arkansas Trucking Association Ash Grove Cement Company Association of Arkansas Counties/ County Judges Associated Builders & Contractors of AR Atlas Asphalt, Inc. (Jamestown Investments) B & F Engineering, Inc. Bank of Delight Bob Crafton Burns & McDonnell Cashion Company Clark Machinery Company Commercial Bank - Monticello Contractor’s Specialty Service Company Cowling Title CPC Midsouth Crafton-Tull & Associates Crisp Contractors Curt Green & Company, LLC D.B. Hill Contracting Dan Flowers Delta Asphalt Dermott Industrial Development Dumas Chamber of Commerce Eagle Bank and Trust Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce
First Community Bank of Batesville FM Structural Plastic Technology Forsgren, Inc. Garver LLC Golden Triangle Economic Development Harold Beaver HDR Engineering Hines Trucking Inc. HNTB Corporation Horatio State Bank Hudson, Cisne & Company Hutchens Construction Company I-49 International Coalition
Jack Buffington Jeffrey Sand Company Jensen Construction Company Jim Wooten JoAnne Bush Johnnie Bolin Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce Keith Gibson
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Kiewit Corporation Koss Construction Company LaCroix Optical Company Larco, Inc. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Lion Oil Company M & T Paving and Construction Co., Inc. Marie Holder Maxwell Hardwood Flooring McGeorge Contracting Company, Inc. Michael Baker Int’l Midwest Lime Company Millar, Inc. Mobley General Contractors Monticello Economic Development Commission NE Ark. Regional Intermodal Facilities Authority NWA Council Ohlendorf Investment Company OK AR Chapter American Concrete Paragould Regional Chamber of Commerce Philip Taldo Razorback Concrete Company Riceland Foods, Inc. Riggs CAT Robert Moery Robert S. Moore, Jr. Rogers Group, Inc. Ronnie Duffield Gravel Company Ryburn Motor Company, Inc. Scott Equipment Springdale Chamber of Commerce SW AR Planning & Development District Tyson Foods, Inc. UCA Foundation University of Arkansas Upper SW Regional Solid Waste Management District Walmart Weaver-Bailey Contractors, Inc. Western Arkansas Intermodal Authority
Join Us, Please! Good Roads works with our members to tell the story of the need for funding and financing to help all communities develop, build and maintain roads and bridges. This drives the local economy and makes the roads safer for all of us. We have corporate and individual membership rates available. The award-winning Good Roads magazine reaches more than 1,200 key stakeholders. If you want to put your message in front of an elite audience of state legislators, mayors, county judges, Good Roads members, engineers and the companies that build roads and bridges, this is the best way to do it. This is the only in-state publication that offers you an easy way to reach this very specific audience. Arkansas Good Roads Foundation email@example.com 479-426-5931
Arkansas Good Roads @arkansasgoodroads AR Good Roads @ARGoodRoads
Spring 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 29
People, Projects, Promotions On Feb. 8, voters in Garland County OK’d the continuation of the 0.625% countywide sales tax that is currently securing $54.7 million in road bonds. Passage allows the county to continue levying the sales tax through June 2027. The proceeds are expected to generate $42 million for countymaintained roads and bridges and $24 million for roads and bridges in Hot Springs. Jimmie Jetton has been promoted from crew leader to area maintenance supervisor for ARDOT in District 4 in Jimmie Jetton Washington County. He began his career with the department in 2004 as a general laborer.
Joseph Ragland has been selected as ARDOT’s area maintenance supervisor for Searcy County in District 9. Joseph Ragland He began his career with the department as a single axle truck driver in 2002. Johnny Rice has been selected as the area maintenance supervisor for ARDOT in District 8 for Johnny Rice Johnson County. He began with the department as a backhoe/front-end loader operator in 1988. Christopher Dailey has been named staff construction engineer in the Construction Division at Christopher ARDOT. He Dailey has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and is a registered professional engineer. After interning for the department, he was hired as an engineer for roadway design in 2014.
Matt Brown has been selected by ARDOT as district maintenance engineer in District 7. He has bachelor’s and Matt Brown master’s degrees in civil engineering from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., and is a registered professional engineer. He was previously employed with the department as an advanced construction field engineer in RE Office #76 in El Dorado.
Joe Daniels, Jr.
Joe Daniels, Jr., has been named district maintenance superintendent in District 3. He began his career with ARDOT in 1994.
Dalton Ellen Coulter Champagne has has joined been promoted to ARDOT as media resident engineer communications at ARDOT’s manager. She RE Office #74 has degrees in in Camden in journalism and Dalton Ellen Coulter District 7. He Spanish from Champagne has a bachelor’s the University of Arkansas and is degree in civil engineering currently working on a Master of from Louisiana Tech University Public Administration at UA Little and is a registered professional Rock. She was most recently the engineer. He was an intern for the director of communications for the department before being hired as Downtown Little Rock Partnership. an engineer in 2016. Transportation Connections is compiled by Good Roads Editor Bill Paddack. Possible items for inclusion can be sent to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. 30 Good Roads Foundation | Spring 2022
Transportation Connections Garland Baker has been selected as ARDOT’s area maintenance supervisor for Little River County in District 3. He began his Garland Baker career with the department as a single axle truck driver in 2007. Major Jeff Bickerstaff of the Arkansas Highway Police has been transferred to the Special Services Major Jeff Section of the Bickerstaff Highway Police Division, where he will serve as special projects coordinator. He has an associate’s degree in criminology from Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs, Colo., and holds a senior certificate in law enforcement from the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training. He began his career with ARDOT as an AHP patrol officer in 1999. Andrew Nanneman has been promoted to state heavy bridge maintenance engineer in the Maintenance Andrew Division at Nanneman ARDOT. He has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and is a registered professional engineer. He began his career with the department in 2011.
Donald Crawford has been selected as the area maintenance supervisor for the Columbia County crew in District Donald Crawford 7. He began work with ARDOT in 1992. Alicia Simpson has been named office manager in ARDOT’s District 10. She has a bachelor’s degree in accounting Alicia Simpson from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro and has been with the department since 2002. David Stinnett has been selected as resident engineer for the District 2 Resident Engineer Office #23 in David Stinnett Pine Bluff. He has a bachelor’s degree in civil and construction engineering from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is a registered professional engineer. Stinnett was an intern at ARDOT until being hired as an engineer in the Roadway Design Division in 2017.
Andrew Patrick has been promoted by ARDOT to shop supervisor in District 9. He began his Andrew Patrick career with the department in 2018 as a mechanic. Patrick holds a certificate in auto-diesel technology from the Nashville Auto-Diesel College. Donnie Henson has been promoted to resident engineer in RE Office #14 in West Memphis. A registered Donnie Henson professional engineer, he has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Christian Brothers University and began at ARDOT in 1992. David Weston has been promoted to section head of the Traffic Services Section in the Maintenance Division at David Weston ARDOT. He has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Arkansas. Dennis Connors has been selected as ARDOT’s equipment maintenance supervisor for District 9. He began with the department as a mechanic in 2011.
Jeremy Matheny has been selected as bridge job superintendent for the bridge crew in District 5. He Dennis Connors began his career Jeremy Matheny with ARDOT in 1995. Spring 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 31
Why Should You Join the AAPA?
Networking Advocacy Resources Information Safety Contact AAPA at: email@example.com (501) 219-1100 32 Good Roads Foundation
| Spring 2022
Education Representation Partnership Unity And more! More information at: www.arasphalt.com Summer 2019 | Good Roads Foundation
In Plain Sight
THE SCENE: Popeye Park. WHERE: Across from the police station in downtown Alma. WHAT: A bronze statue of Popeye, everyone’s favorite sailorman, celebrates Alma’s self-proclaimed heritage as Spinach Capital of the World. (Photo by Bill Paddack)
Spring 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 33
Crafton Tull Acquires B & F Engineering Crafton Tull, an employee-owned expanded capability to serve our professional services firm based in clients.” Arkansas, has announced that it has B & F President and CEO acquired Hot Springs-based B & F James Montgomery will remain Engineering (B & F). B & F will in a leadership role and manage do business as B & F Engineering, operations and staff in Hot Springs. a Division of Crafton Tull as it “Joining the Crafton Tull family transitions away from its current in our firm’s 50th year of business name. is an exciting new chapter for us,” B & F employs 40 people inMontgomery said. “This partnership cluding civil engineers, structural will provide enhanced service engineers, surveyors and administrato our clients and generate longtive staff. The firm’s professionals term growth opportunities for our have decades of experience working employee-owners.” with departments of transportation, Founded in 1963, Crafton Tull the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, employs more than 250 people From left, James Montgomery, president local governments, private land deand has offices located throughout and CEO of B & F Engineering, with velopers, industries and educational Arkansas and Oklahoma. The firm Matt Crafton, president and CEO of institutions. is one of three 100% employeeCrafton Tull. “We are excited to join forces owned Employee Stock Ownership with B & F Engineering,” Crafton Tull President and Plan (ESOP) corporations headquartered in Arkansas. CEO Matt Crafton said. “Our two firms have worked The combined company offers professional together for many years, and we have always greatly services including civil and structural engineering, admired the quality of service and professionalism of architecture, surveying, landscape architecture, their people. We think our common values, mission planning and environmental services to both public and culture align perfectly to form an exceptional and private clients.
NOW PART OF THE CRAFTON TULL TEAM
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Contractors install road signs along the Springdale Bypass. Retaining a quality workforce is vital to maintain production in the construction industry. (ARDOT Photo)
Workforce Development Solutions Key Takeaways That Are Working From AGC of America’s Inaugural National Construction Industry Workforce Summit The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) convened its inaugural National Construction Industry Workforce Summit in St. Louis, Mo., last October. The event was designed to bring leaders in construction and workforce development communities together to identify effective existing solutions and craft potentially effective new solutions for the recruitment, training and retention of construction workforce. Summit attendees self-selected the workforce development aspect that was of most interest: recruitment, training or retention. Here’s a summary of some of those conversations, including examples of strategies already in place that are working. Recruitment Implement a “sign and stay” bonus program for skilled trades. Several construction firms noted they have had success putting in place these types of programs that offer a hiring bonus and a comparable stay bonus when the employee has stayed for a certain
length of time, such as one year. Firms and chapters are participating in career days with specific high schools, particularly technical schools. These firms develop strong working relationships with the schools and spend a lot of time on campus setting up and supporting constructionspecific programs that can then serve as a pipeline for new craft people into that firm. Other firms and chapters are using career fairs to bring students from multiple high schools to a single point – such as a fairground – where they can be exposed to a wide range of craft skills, construction
Use digital advertising and social media to reach highpotential industry recruits as well as target key influencers such as coaches, teachers and parents. Spring 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 35
Side Roads where they bring in high school guidance counselors, explain the construction career opportunities that are available, what it takes to qualify for them and how much students can earn in their careers. Other chapters are working with local school districts to offer intro to construction careers programs to younger students. In one state, Georgia, students are being introduced to construction careers at the second-grade level. Construction firms are being more strategic about who they send to do the recruiting. They are sending diverse role models into school programs and other Workers use jackhammers to clear out a damaged portion of a bridge deck before recruiting events to speak to repairing it near the Okolono exit on Interstate 30 in Southwest Arkansas. Due to the cyclical nature of construction markets, companies in the construction industry have long increasingly diverse student had some difficulties in attracting and retaining young talent for both management and populations. skilled field positions. (ARDOT Photo) One school official from equipment and construction technology. Oklahoma recommended that, when construction firms Some states offer workers’ compensation waivers visit schools, they bring more hands-on activities, for firms that hire students out of local high schools. In bring teachers out to job sites and recruit older, semiexchange, contractors agree to pay those high school retired contractors to teach. “apprentices” the same pay rate. Many construction firms and chapters also talked Many firms are working with state education about the work they are doing to create single authorities to create a training program for online job boards for all available local construction construction industry outreach specialists. These career opportunities. This way potential applicants specialists then work with high school students to help have a one-stop portal for finding available career them explore different career paths within the industry opportunities. and work in coordination with local high school guidance counselors. Training and Development Some firms are using virtual reality headsets to One firm in western New York offers virtual safely expose high school students to different conworkforce development. They created an app-based struction opportunities, including equipment operation platform that offers basic video training on a range of and welding. construction activities, including traffic control, how to Work with workforce investment boards to secure funding for scholarships for child care so parents can Several firms have created earn a living in careers like construction. strong, effective partnerships AGC chapters have created special construction academies during the summer. These academies offer to create constructionmulti-week, paid-work opportunities for rising junior specific training programs and senior high school students. The students split their time between CTE programs and being on actual in partnership with local construction job sites. community colleges. The AGC Georgia chapter hosts Trade Talks 36 Good Roads Foundation | Spring 2022
Side Roads set up a trench box safely, etc. Their app is now being refined in partnership with Caterpillar. Several small and medium-size firms say they provide accelerated craft development programs. They do this by providing on-the-job training with the foreman and area managers teaching classroom training. These trainers are in turn receiving coaching from the executive team on softer skills like empathy and patience. The industry has worked with school districts to create programs like Utah’s UBC Pathways. That program offers 10 different tracks students can take starting as early as ninth grade. The program offers a stackable credentialing system. The students in the program are provided with internships with local construction firms. Eighty-five percent of those interns stay with their companies. Turner Construction is bringing union and open shop partners together at some of its Nebraska construction projects to identify obstacles to training, share resources and explore broader challenges – like transportation barriers and child-care needs. Retention McCarthy Construction in Georgia has had success retaining craft workers nearing retirement age by moving them into “field coordinator” roles. These positions are part-time, providing more balance in their lives, but allows them to stay engaged and mentor new employees. The program has a heavy focus on training newer employees with less experience. The position offers more flexibility and more vacation days. Several firms report they have added new training programs for foremen and field supervisors to help with retention of new, younger employees. These training programs focus on softer skills like patience and how to effectively communicate. They are also designed to help front-line leaders share their vision and work plan for the project, so younger workers better understand how they are contributing. Mentorship programs also play an invaluable role in helping firms retain workers. Some firms provide mentors with additional pay. Most new employees leave in the first two weeks of work, but having mentors make them feel welcomed and doing simple things like showing them where the break area is and eating lunch with them really helps. Supporting new hires during that first month is crucial. Mentors need
to be willing and trained to be effective. Finding effective child-care solutions is also key to retaining more workers. Some firms have worked with local employment agencies to secure grants to cover child-care costs. Other firms are looking at ways to offer craft workers the same flexibility they offer to accountants and estimators in the office. Many firms also rely on employee engagement surveys to gather feedback on the quality of their orientation program, asking employees what they want to accomplish and asking about whether new employees have friends at work. These surveys let employees know they are being listened too. But it is also important to act on, when appropriate, recommendations in these surveys so employees know they aren’t just being heard but appreciated. Firms that require workers to travel frequently are also working to retain those employees by offering a bonus. For example, one firm offers a 20 percent bonus for anyone traveling for more than two weeks. They also offer alternating three-day weekends for those workers to spend time back home or fly spouses and family out to them.
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Spring 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 37
Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, passed by Congress in November 2021.
“It’s incredible for the country, but it also means Arkansans can expect to get a lot of things for safe drinking water, broadband, roads and bridges here in our state.” – State Sen. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville.
“Arkansans want a legitimate and focused infrastructure plan. ...This bill is anything but that. It’s a shill for the Green New Deal and unlocks the next step in their socialist vision.”
“Passage of this five-year, $1.2 trillion bill proves once again that the country can lead with infrastructure.” – Dennis D. Truax, President, American Society of Civil Engineers
– Congressman Steve Womack, R-Ark., who voted against the bill, as did the entire Arkansas congressional delegation, all of whom are Republicans.
“State departments of transportation applaud Congress and the President for getting this important piece of legislation to the finish line.” – Jim Tymon, Executive Director, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
“The bill provides the kind of funding needed to modernize the country’s aging and overburdened infrastructure. Because of today’s vote, state and local officials will be able to invest in a more efficient supply chain network. They will also be able to improve roads and bridges to make them safer and more reliable.” – Stephen Sandherr, CEO, Associated General Contractors of America
“Now that President Biden has signed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law – a bill nearly two-thirds of Americans support – America’s engineers begin the essential work of implementing these next-generation upgrades. Americans have waited long enough for safe drinking water, secure and efficient energy sources, and reliable bridges and roads that are resilient against today’s cyber, extreme weather and climate challenges.” – Linda Bauer, President & CEO, American Council of Engineering Companies
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Beyond the design Garver’s Jerry Holder knows dedication goes beyond transportation infrastructure. It’s about creating lasting connections in all of those communities where we live and work. As an Arkansas native leading an Arkansas-based team of engineers to build a foundation for future growth in The Natural State, Jerry knows the roads, bridges, and thoroughfares ahead have never looked so good.
Jerry Holder, PE | Director of Transportation
Spring 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 39
Arkansas Good Roads Foundation P.O. Box 25854 Little Rock, Arkansas 72221
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