GOOD ROADS The Award-Winning Magazine of the Arkansas Good Roads Foundation
A Bridge to the Future
Proposed I-49 Expansion Drives Economic Development in Fort Smith Foundation Good Roads. Good for All.
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.
4 From the Executive Director 6 Reduced Emissions 7 Award From ACPA 8 Alerting Drivers 11 Bridge to the Future 16 Honoring a Career 18 Q & A: Graycen Bigger and Curt Green 22 By the Numbers 25 In Plain Sight 26 Transportation Connections 30 Side Roads: $3 Million Research Grant 32 New Requirements 34 Arkansan Is National Trooper of the Year 36 Joint Initiative 38 Back Talk
Department adds seven cleaner running trucks.
ARDOT honored for widening project on Interstate 630 in Little Rock.
Centerline rumble stripes create audible noise and physical vibrations.
Long-Discussed I-49 projects becoming reality.
Bob Crafton inducted into Arkansas Construction Hall of Fame.
New AGRF Executive Board members talk infrastructure and projects they’d like to see.
AAA survey, ASCE report and $5.3 billion for bridges.
Promotions and latest projects among AGRF member companies and organizations.
UA assistant professor of civil engineering receives funding from Army Corps of Engineers.
USDOT says CAFE standards will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
Two groups honor State Trooper Spencer Morris of Crittenden County.
J.B. Hunt, BNSF look to improve intermodal capacity challenges.
ON THE COVER: An artist’s rendering of the bridge that will be built over the Arkansas River at Fort Smith. Rendering courtesy of ARDOT. HNTB is the Good Roads member company doing the design work on the long-awaited bridge.
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Executive Director’s Message
Different Ways of Telling the Story Joe Quinn, AGRF Executive Director The mission at the Arkansas Good Roads Foundation is to educate Arkansans about the need for quality roads and bridges in our state. How we do that has to constantly change to keep up with the issues that really matter to our members. Right now, I think the organizations and companies that design, fund, move product on, and build roads are feeling optimistic about how the $3.8 billion in federal infrastructure money headed our way has shifted the dialogue. For many years you have heard, “We need to go after funding for that in the next session.” But now with the passage of Issue 1 that extended a sales tax critical to local road funding, and the arrival of the federal infrastructure dollars, there is a sense that funding is available so let’s really focus on making smart decisions about how to use it. Sometimes I speak to people who think most available funding is making its way up I-49 to Northwest Arkansas. But the fiscal reality is that increased road funding impacts every community and county in the state. Meeting in Fort Smith While the federal infrastructure package got a lot of media attention, there are many infrastructure issues that get talked about less, but matter more than ever. All of us staying at home during the pandemic was a reminder that online shopping and home delivery of virtually every product we need expanded at an astounding rate. And this means whether you live in a city or a small community nestled alongside a rural road, you expect Amazon or Walmart to have that new TV or paper towels or toothpaste on your front doorstep the morning after you ordered them. And that means our infrastructure must constantly improve and upgrade to keep up with that demand. Which all brings me back to how Good Roads tells this larger story. We continue to try new and different ways 4 Good Roads Foundation | Summer 2022
of telling the infrastructure story. In July in Fort Smith, we are hosting a policy discussion about the impact of the extension of I-49 from Alma to Barling. This $710 million dollar project will include a beautiful new bridge over the Arkansas River that Fort Smith business leaders have talked about for years. Our meeting will feature both policy discussions and a look at how the bridge will be built when highway commissioners gather with community leaders. At our 2021 Annual Meeting in Little Rock, we offered members some more technical presentations that were very well received, so we are keeping that in mind as we create meetings that have value to all of you. Chaffee Crossing In the 1990s, when the federal government closed many military bases and gave land back to local communities, the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority was formed and created a remarkable development called Chaffee Crossing. If you haven’t driven through it, you should. It’s a thriving blend of retail, neighborhoods, manufacturing facilities and state government facilities. The feeling in Fort Smith and across Chaffee Crossing is that the new bridge and the extension of I-49 will only escalate the economic growth and jobs being created here. Our meeting is going to be a good day for all of us to think about the fact that unique development projects are happening across the state, not just in Northwest Arkansas. It’s also a reminder that the backbone of new jobs, new retail and new neighborhoods is very often the quality and strategic design of the nearby roads and infrastructure. Chaffee Crossing is a great example of that and hopefully just the start of many such projects we can do with new funding. Drive safely. And please put that phone down when you are driving.
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 Graycen Bigger – Pocahontas JoAnne Bush – Lake Village Curt Green - Texarkana 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
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.
Harold Beaver Rogers
Graycen Bigger Pocahontas
JoAnne Bush Lake Village
Mark Hayes Little Rock
Lance Lamberth Batesville
Robert Moery Little Rock
Curt Green Texarkana
Robert S. Moore, Jr. Arkansas City (Non-Voting Member)
Joe Quinn, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org Bill Paddack, Editor email@example.com Celia Blasier, Designer firstname.lastname@example.org Shannon Newton Little Rock
Chris Villines Little Rock
Jim Wooten Beebe
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Purchased with funds from a settlement, department’s seven new vehicles have lower emissions. The Arkansas Department of Transportation has about 700 trucks, but it was its seven new ones that recently grabbed the spotlight. Employees of ARDOT and the Arkansas Department of Energy & Environment and members of the media were on hand April 8 at ARDOT’s equipment and procurement building to get a look at the shiny white lower-emissions trucks purchased using State Agency Fleet Emissions Reduction (SAFER) grant funding. Four are tractor trucks and three are dump trucks. As part of the grant, ARDOT received $1,109,790 to replace four diesel-powered tractor trucks and three diesel-powered dump trucks with 2020 or newer diesel-powered equivalent trucks. ‘Step in the Right Direction’ “This is a win-win situation,” State Highway Commissioner Marie Holder said. “Not only does ARDOT receive these cleaner-running vehicles that decrease nitrogen oxide emissions, but it also means the department’s use of these vehicles is a step in the right direction when it comes to pollution, mitigation and prevention.” The $1.1 million that the cleaner-burning trucks cost will come from $14.7 million that was allocated to the state as a result of two partial consent decrees totaling $2.7 billion in a case filed against Volkswagen, accusing the automaker of violating the federal Clean Air Act, the department said. Volkswagen sold more than 500,000 diesel-engine vehicles from 2009 to 2016 that contained devices to defeat the vehicles’ emission controls. The devices result in up to 40% higher nitrogen oxide emissions during regular driving. Gov. Asa Hutchinson named the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment as the lead agency in 2017 to develop and apply a plan to make use of the state’s portion of the trust funds. Becky Keogh, department secretary, said the plan had been reviewed by the governor and it identified several programs that would benefit from the money. 6 Good Roads Foundation | Summer 2022
The seven new ARDOT trucks – three of which are dump trucks – have lower emissions than the department’s older vehicles. (ARDOT Photo by Rusty Hubbard)
Reducing Nitrogen Oxide Emissions “DOT gave us a very competitive proposal and we were happy to award that money for these vehicles,” Keogh said. Arkansas’ share of the Environmental Mitigation Trust funds is designed to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions primarily by replacing old high-emitting vehicles with newer models that burn cleaner. The new trucks replace ones that ranged in age from 13 to 21 years old. “With today’s automotive technology, these new trucks will result in cleaner emissions as they are used day to day by our crews,” ARDOT Director Lorie Tudor said. Danny Keene, head of ARDOT’s Equipment and Procurement Division, said the new trucks replace the fleet’s worst-polluting trucks, based on an analysis by Keogh’s agency. “They were the worst diesel emission vehicles we had that would have the most impact on our carbon footprint,” Keene said. “Every little bit helps.”
Department Takes Silver Award From ACPA for Project on I-630 At a banquet in December in Huntington Beach, Calif., the American Concrete Pavement Association presented its Excellence in Concrete Pavement Awards, including a Silver Award to the Arkansas Department of Transportation. ARDOT was honored in the category Divided Highways (Urban) for the widening project on Interstate 630 in Little Rock. That was an undertaking that widened the busy I-630 to eight lanes from University Avenue to Baptist Hospital. AGRF member Koss Construction Co. was the contractor on the $87.4 million venture. “Interstate 630 is a major highway into the downtown area of Little Rock,” ARDOT Director Lorie Tudor said. “We commend Koss Construction for the excellent job they did on this project, especially with traffic continuing to flow through the work zone. We are honored to be recognized by our peers in the industry with this award.” The program recognizes outstanding concrete pavement projects.
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Centerline Rumble Stripes Their sounds and vibrations alert drivers that they have left their lane, giving them an opportunity to recover. By Britni Padilla-Dumas ARDOT Chances are that if you have driven on a highway, you have seen, felt and heard the vibrations from a rumble strip or stripe. Drivers often encounter the rumble stripes located along the shoulder – these alert drivers of lane departure. However, ARDOT is working to increase safety even further by installing rumble stripes along the centerline to keep drivers from crossing the yellow line into oncoming traffic. What are centerline rumble stripes? Centerline rumble stripes (CLRS) are grooves at the yellow centerline that create audible noise and physical vibrations when the tires of a vehicle drive over them. CLRS are similar in design to the shoulder rumble stripes. The sounds and vibrations of CLRS alert the driver that they have departed from their lane, giving the driver an opportunity to recover. CLRS also have an additional benefit of helping drivers navigate during weather conditions that produce poor visibility such as fog and rain due to sounds and vibrations at the centerline.
In Arkansas alone, there were 164 fatal crashes in 2020 that were a result of drivers crossing the centerline.
Why is ARDOT installing centerline rumble stripes? ARDOT is working to prevent lane departures that result in head-on collisions, side-swipe crashes from the opposite direction and crashes that occur when a vehicle veers left off the roadway. One of the leading causes of roadway departure crashes on Arkansas’ highways is vehicles crossing the centerline. In Arkansas alone, there were 164 fatal crashes in 2020 that were a result of drivers crossing the centerline. CLRS are a proven safety countermeasure and reduce cross centerline crashes by 40-60% according to the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 641. Finally, CLRS are one of the most economical safety measures available. The cost to install CLRS are very low, especially compared to the high payoff of saving lives. Where can I expect to see new CLRS? Several factors such as speed, roadway width and rural roads affect location choice for CLRS. For example, the speed limit must be 50 miles per hour or greater, and the combined width of the lane and shoulder must be 14 feet or greater in each direction before CLRS will be considered. Approximately 2,500 miles of highway across the entire state will soon be home to new CLRS.
Learn more about centerline rumble stripes at www.ardot.gov/centerlinerumblestripes 8 Good Roads Foundation | Summer 2022
ARDOT and local officials cut a ribbon May 20 for the newly completed widening project on Highway 412 at Paragould. The project widened 14 miles of Highway 412 from Highway 141 to Highway 67. Atlas Asphalt and Delta Asphalt of Arkansas were awarded the contract for $58.5 million. From left are Greene County Judge Rusty McMillon, Paragould Mayor Josh Agee, Congressman Rick Crawford, ARDOT Director Lorie Tudor, Arkansas Highway Commission Vice Chairman Alec Farmer and Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp. (ARDOT Photo)
Another ribbon-cutting ceremony the same day was for the new Highway 18 BNSF Railroad Overpass in Jonesboro. The $25.2 million contract was awarded to Capital Paving and Construction, LLC. From left are Capital Paving and Asphalt COO Eddie Welsh, ARDOT District Engineer Brad Smithee, state Rep. Jack Ladyman, Craighead County Judge Marvin Day, Arkansas Highway Commission Vice Chairman Alec Farmer, ARDOT Director Lorie Tudor, Congressman Rick Crawford, Jonesboro Mayor Harold Copenhaver, Capital Paving and Asphalt Lead Project Manager Andrew Owenby, Jonesboro City Councilman John Street and Capital Paving and Asphalt Lead Project Foreman Zack Bremer. (ARDOT Photo)
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HNTB is proud to serve bringing the next segment of I-49 from future to reality.
Rendering of proposed I-49 EXTENSION | INTERMODAL FREIGHT CONNECTION from I-49/Highway 22 in Barling to I-40/I-49 in Alma over the Arkansas River, Courtesy of the Arkansas Department of Transportation
HNTB CORPORATION The HNTB Companies Infrastructure Solutions 5800 Evergreen Drive, Suite A | Little Rock, AR 72205 | hntb.com
10 Good Roads Foundation | Summer 2022
Bridge to the Future
I-49 Expansion A Long Road to Economic Development in Fort Smith and Beyond By Joe Quinn, Executive Director The non-descript military building at Fort Chaffee looks exactly like it did in the 1940s when hundreds of thousands of American soldiers were trained there before being shipped to Europe. Fort Chaffee opened in 1941 and became one of the primary infantry training facilities in Army history. But it wasn’t until 1958 when a young man from Mississippi walked into the Fort Chaffee barbershop that the base really became nationally known. Elvis Presley had come to Fort Chaffee after being drafted, and he received his G.I. buzz cut there. Decades later the Chaffee Barbershop Museum still stands as a monument to what is likely the most photographed haircut in American history. This sprawling military base helped America through World War II and then later was the first U.S. home for refugees who came to the United States after Vietnam, and later took in Cuban refugees who fled their homeland in small boats. But in 1995, Fort Smith and Fort Chaffee changed forever when the federal government announced the training that had been done at the base for 44 years would end. More than 7,000 acres from the base were given to the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority. Of the 7,000 acres, 1,500 were immediately passed on to local communities for community upgrades. The federal government held on to 65,000 acres of the former base that now houses the Arkansas National Guard, a U.S. Navy SEAL training facility, the 188th Fighter Wing and a non-descript building where the United States Department of Energy trains specialized truck drivers who haul nuclear waste.
Chaffee Crossing Flourishing It took time to find the right blend of private and public leadership to make the redevelopment concept work as planned, but today the area now known as Chaffee Crossing is thriving. Large manufacturing facilities are neighbors to dozens of new neighborhoods. The Arkansas Colleges
What was likely the most photographed haircut in history took place in a barracks at Fort Chaffee when Elvis arrived to start his enlistment process. Legend has it MP’s watched closely to see that no one took his hair from the floor after his military cut.
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Bridge to the Future
“We are one of the few spots anywhere with perfect river and interstate access where two major airports are less than an hour away.”
“We are creating a vibrant place for families who are living at all socio-economic levels,” she said. “The growth here really started to explode when I-49 opened up, but what’s happening now is unbelievable.” The Chaffee Crossing economic model is that the redevelopment authority sells pieces of the 5,500 acres to developers who will then bring jobs and economic growth here. If a recipient of a land grant – Chaffee Crossing Director of has not broken ground in three years, the authority has the legal right to take the land back and find another Marketing Lorie Robertson business or developer who will do something with the land grant. of Health Education sits in the midst of the area as Robertson says the Redevelopment Authority a gleaming centerpiece. State-of-the-art projects blending apartments and retail are going up in multiple and Chaffee Crossing want developers who are locations. The ArcBest Corporate Headquarters gleams ready to work and prepared to bring projects to life quickly. Robertson says there is one simple rule, “If on a hill overlooking the region, the parking lot full again with workers back in the office after almost two you haven’t turned dirt in three years, we will start proceedings to repurchase the land from the original years of working from home. Chaffee Crossing also buyer.” contains an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission regional facility as well as multiple event centers for Long-Discussed Extension weddings and social events. The master plan design work on the 5,500 acres A lake given to the county at no cost is now was done by Arkansas Good Roads member company surrounded by beautiful amenities and walking Crafton Tull. This is a nice place to live but more than trails. In every sense of the word this is a planned that, this unique confluence of the Arkansas River, development that worked. Lorie Robertson is the enthusiastic director of marketing at Chaffee Crossing. the interstate system and easy access to two airports
Starting in 1988 when Congress closed military bases the land was often given to local communities for economic development. The Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) project closed 350 military installations from 1988 to 2005. Some of the land from Fort Chaffee was given to the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority.
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Bridge to the Future
Fort Chaffee was one of the largest infantry training bases in the United States during World War II. Hundreds of thousands of young Americans came here for military training.
makes the region a national economic hub in ways most Arkansans don’t think about. If you drive across the 7,000-acre development, everything looks new. The Arkansas Department of Transportation is about to start work on the upgrade and expansion of State Highway 255. The $19 milliondollar road project is less than two miles from a gleaming ARDOT District 4 Headquarters facility. But Robertson is most excited about the infrastructure project that every business leader in the region mentions in casual conversation. In the fall, work will start on a 14-mile expansion of I-49 from Highway 22 in Barling, across the Arkansas River to a new intermodal facility, and then north to Interstates 40 and 49 in Alma. “The extension of I-49 positions
us at the center of the United States in a way that is good for economic growth and local convenience,” Robertson said. “The impact of this project is almost unfathomable. We are one of the few spots anywhere with perfect river and interstate access where two major airports are less than an hour away.” In recent Arkansas infrastructure history only the opening of the Bella Vista Bypass seems to compare to the impact the I-49 expansion will have. Right now, the drive from Greenwood to Alma takes drivers about 45 minutes. Robertson estimates the new road will cut that to 15 minutes. The number of manhours and gallons of gas saved is hard to accurately estimate. The timing could not be better with gas prices hovering at about $4.50 per gallon. Summer 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 13
Bridge to the Future Expanding the I-49 Footprint At the center of this project will sit the new for those who live, work and play in the corridor and bridge over I-49. It is the most expensive piece of surrounding area, the project will activate enormous the work, and it represents something the region and economic potential in a new intermodal facility and state have talked about for decades. The Arkansas will enhance Chaffee Crossing.” Highway Commission in April approved the first grant Tudor says initial contracts for the work will application for $100 million in funding that will go be awarded soon. “We will be letting out the first toward the overall $710 specifications for dirt million-dollar projected moving bids this fall,” she “It will be a game changer budget. said. “We will also begin for mid-America.” working through the rightARDOT Director Lorie Tudor has of-way issues associated – ARDOT Director Lorie Tudor worked on thousands of with a large project like projects since her career this.” at ARDOT began, but when she talks about I-49 it’s clear the size and scope Enthusiastic Response of this project makes it unique. This 14-mile stretch When the Arkansas Good Roads Foundation of interstate and the new bridge will impact travel was planning a policy meeting at the University nationally. “It’s an important project that will make of Arkansas at Fort Smith for July, more than 125 a huge difference,” Tudor said. “This is a significant people signed up for the event in less than 24 expansion of the I-49 footprint and another step in hours. Everyone involved was enthusiastic about connecting Kansas City to New Orleans. It will be a joining the five members of the Arkansas Highway game changer for midCommission to talk about America. We know there the positive economic impact are a lot of unknowns the expansion from Alma to right now with inflation, Barling will have on the city, but best-case scenario we the county, the region, the could have this open in state and the nation. “The seven to 10 years.” positive impacts that I-49 will Dan Chapman moved bring to western Arkansas in to Arkansas to manage terms of economic growth the rapidly expanding and development, quality HNTB Corporation of life and transportation presence in Arkansas. His safety are immeasurable,” State Highway ARDOT Director firm is helping ARDOT State Highway Commissioner Commissioner Lorie Tudor Keith Gibson put together the complex Keith Gibson said. This is a application packages for federal funding, and they significant and historic project will do the design work on the long-anticipated new that community leaders have been talking about for 20 bridge across the Arkansas River. HNTB will also be years. involved in managing the environmental studies that It’s also a reminder that the passage of a tax come with a project like this. extension with Issue 1 in 2020 and the dedication Chapman recently wrote in a letter of support for of $3.8 billion to Arkansas in the recent federal the project, “I-49 is a congressionally designated infrastructure package mean the future is bright in National Highway System High Priority Corridor #1, terms of both large and small road and bridge projects connecting New Orleans, Kansas City and beyond. that will drive the Arkansas economy and make travel In addition to improving the safety and quality of life easier. 14 Good Roads Foundation | Summer 2022
Bridging the gap between idea + achievement Through smart infrastructure, we’re helping our clients push open the doors to what’s possible, every day. hdrinc.com
Summer 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 15
Bob Crafton (left) accepts congratulations and his Arkansas Construction Hall of Fame award from AGC Arkansas President Jake Nabholz, president and CEO of Nabholz Construction. 16 Good Roads Foundation | Summer 2022
Hall of Fame
Arkansas Construction Hall of Fame
Bob Crafton Honored for His Many Achievements
Arkansas Good Roads Executive Board Secretary/ Treasurer Bob Crafton was recently inducted into the Arkansas Construction Hall of Fame. Bob is a longtime friend to hundreds of people who are involved in infrastructure issues in Arkansas. One of 14 children in his family, he was raised in Corning and attended college after borrowing money from a brother to pay tuition. A high school teacher Bob respected recommended that he major in civil engineering. Bob and Lem Tull worked together in their early years at what is now the Arkansas Department of Transportation. After a hallway conversation, they decided to move to Rogers and open an engineering firm. Crafton and Tull immediately found work related to the development of Beaver Lake in Rogers and never looked back. The family leadership of the firm continues now as Bob’s son Matt is the president and CEO, and Lem’s son Jim is the CFO. Matt is an active Good Roads member who always seems to be the first to offer to sponsor any special event Good Roads is doing. “Bob is a kind and decent man who always has time for anyone he meets,” AGRF Executive Director Joe Quinn said. “He is also a legend in the Arkansas engineering world who has been a staunch supporter of Arkansas Good Roads for many, many years. Thank you, Bob, for everything you have done and continue to do. You are an inspiration to many of us.” The Hall of Fame helps connect the past with the present. AGC Arkansas Executive Vice President Joey Dean emphasized the distinction that goes with induction into it. “AGC Arkansas is always honored to host the
Arkansas Construction Hall of Fame,” Dean said. “Since its inception in 2000, the Hall of Fame has inducted the highest caliber of individuals whose careers and community dedication have left a positive and indelible mark on our state and the construction industry as a whole. Joining those that came before them, this year’s class was exceptionally deserving.”
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Q & A: New AGRF Board Members
Two Join AGRF Board
The Arkansas Good Roads Foundation welcomes Graycen Bigger and Curt Green to the organization’s Executive Board. By Bill Paddack
A real estate executive who is a longtime advocate for the completion of Interstate 49 and a community developer with a passion for rural development are bringing their expertise to the Executive Board of the Arkansas Good Roads Foundation. Curt Green and Graycen Bigger “The greatest ongoing concern for were named to local officials in Northeast Arkansas is the board earlier currently bridge maintenance.” this year. From – Graycen Bigger opposite ends of the state, they bring a fervor for good infrastructure, a knowledge of how to get things done and a dedication to strengthening their communities to the AGRF. Commercial Real Estate Pro A former chairman of the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce, Curt has been involved in commercial real estate sales, development, construction and investment since 1978. He owned Curt Green & Company, LLC, a commercial real estate brokerage company from 1980 to 2021, and in 2009 was a founding partner in Max Alley Companies, which specializes in the development, construction and investment of commercial real estate projects in 14 states. His real estate experience includes more than 500 transactions and 200-plus investment, development or construction projects, but it’s I-49 that has been a passion for years. Curt has spent many hours in both Little Rock and Washington, D.C., lobbying for the 18 Good Roads Foundation | Summer 2022
completion of I-49 and pro-business issues on behalf of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). He is the past Arkansas/ Oklahoma chairman for the “Our Arkansas infrastructure is a major ICSC and was asset to our economy and as with all the 2003-2005 assets, you have to expand or maintain or you’re going backwards.” Arkansas state – Curt Green chairman of NFIB. Curt has supported a number of civic organizations and served on a number of boards. He was the recipient of the 2014 Idalee Hawkins Leadership Award, and he was awarded the 2015 C.E. Palmer Award, both Texarkana’s most prestigious honors for leadership and community service. Community Developer Graycen is executive director of the Northeast Arkansas Regional Intermodal Authority and assistant vice president of community development and marketing at Farmers & Merchants Bank in Pocahontas. She holds bachelor’s degrees in photojournalism and the history of art from Arkansas State University along with a master’s degree in art business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York. Her previous work experience includes serving as director of placemaking for the City of
Q & A: New AGRF Board Members
Cherokee Village, one of the first planned recreational communities in the country, as well as an adjunct professor of art history for the Arkansas State University System. In 2021, Gov. Asa Hutchinson appointed Graycen to the Arkansas Division of Higher Education Coordinating Board. Some of her other community commitments include the Arkansas Economic Developers and Chamber Executives, the North Delta Community Foundation, the Spring River Innovation Hub and the Black River Technical College Foundation. A Northeast Arkansas native, Graycen is passionate about rural development, education and building strategic partnerships that strengthen communities. She has been recognized as one of Arkansas’ 250 most influential leaders as well as an Emerging Young Alumni from ASU. We asked them about the projects they would like to see addressed in their parts of the state and why infrastructure enhancement should be a priority.
“The widening of U.S. 82 running across South Arkansas to four lanes or increasing passing lanes in needed areas should be a priority for ARDOT.” – Curt Green You wear a number of hats. Tell us about your responsibilities, Graycen, and how they work together.
Graycen: I have served as the executive director of the Northeast Arkansas Regional Intermodal Facilities Authority since 2018. The NEA Intermodal is an economic development organization and ARDOT partner that serves Clay, Lawrence, Randolph and Sharp Counties. Formed in 2009, our mission is to create employment opportunities through the Tell us a little about your involvement with the I-49 recruitment, expansion and retention of industry. Coalition, Curt, and why completion of that interstate A couple of years later, I also joined Farmers and is so important. Merchants Bank as the assistant vice president of community development and marketing. Both roles, Curt: The organized effort to extend an interstate along with my volunteer commitments, are focused highway from Shreveport to Kansas City began when on building communities and the Northeast Arkansas the Texarkana and Fort Smith Chambers contacted region as a whole. While one is a public, quasithe Shreveport Chamber. Louisiana was planning government entity and the other is a private business, a major highway from New Orleans to Shreveport. it is often these types of partnerships that facilitate The discussion was to create a north/south interstate growth in rural communities. I’m really grateful that highway system from New Orleans to Canada. I-49 I’m able to serve my community in both capacities would connect New Orleans to Kansas City where and proud of the partnerships we’ve built over the past existing Interstate Highways 29 and 35 ran north to several years throughout the region. Canada. Not a new idea since the need for a New Orleans/Canada highway originated in 1904. Why should improving and investing in our The three chambers started pushing the “Midinfrastructure be a priority? America Connection” interstate system, and we were off and running. I got a call from Swede Lee, Graycen: Infrastructure is vital to economic the Texarkana Chamber exec at the time, who said, development. One of the NEA Intermodal’s and “you need to be involved in this project,” and the rest my top priorities is to advocate for infrastructure is history. Thirty-plus years and I’ve enjoyed every improvements because we understand that roads, minute of my I-49 adventure! Presently, I’m serving as water, energy and broadband access are integral the chairman of the I-49 International Coalition. to development and quality of life. Communities Summer 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 19
Q & A: New AGRF Board Members have always grown based on their relationship to infrastructure. First, it was water. Then it was roads and rail. Now, it is broadband and large-scale interstate systems connecting areas of trade to air transport and densely populated metros. Proximity to major highways and interstates can make all the difference for a community, especially rural, in the site selection process for industry. Strong infrastructure is also key to talent recruitment. People want to live in communities that offer greater access to travel. In this new age of telecommuting and hybrid work models, broadband makes a significant difference to potential residents. What we’ve learned over the past few years is that rural states like Arkansas offer tremendous quality of life benefits due to our space, natural amenities and hospitality. However, we’ve got to continue investing in infrastructure if we want to recruit talent and retain young professionals.
across South Arkansas to four lanes or increasing passing lanes in needed areas should be a priority for ARDOT. The widening of I-30 to six lanes to match Texas from the Texas state line to I-49 is also a high priority. The most “bang for the buck” will be any extension of I-49. Nothing will grow the economy in western Arkansas as the completion of I-49. We refer to western Arkansas as the “missing link’’ in the MidAmerica Connection. How would you describe the roads, bridges and infrastructure in Northeast Arkansas? What projects in the area would you like to see ARDOT address?
Graycen: The greatest ongoing concern for local officials in Northeast Arkansas is currently bridge maintenance. ARDOT’s District 10, which is headquartered in Paragould and serves Randolph down to Mississippi County, has more bridges than any other district in the state Curt: As a person whose due to the number of secondary “Infrastructure is business decisions are determined roads. It is also home to some vital to economic of the worst bridges in the to a large degree by daily traffic flow on major city streets, I place development.” state. While Arkansas has made a very high priority on convenient, significant progress in terms of – Graycen Bigger accessible transportation on bridge maintenance over the streets and highways. I believe past five years, we still have as stated years ago on a national approximately 2,500 bridges in highway magazine front cover, “As the Highways Go, need of repair across the state at a cost of over $1.9 So Goes the Economy.” billion. We are a mobile society and mobility requires The NEA Intermodal footprint, alone, is made accessibility which is provided to a very high extent up of more than 940,000 acres of agricultural land by streets and highways. If you’re going to grow, you divided amongst 2,300 farms. Randolph County got to go! Our Arkansas infrastructure is a major asset and the surrounding area is also home to large-scale to our economy and as with all assets, you have to agricultural industry – like Peco Foods, Inc., and Vital expand or maintain or you’re going backwards. Farms, which are responsible for more than 82,000 local truckloads of goods each year. This means How would you describe the roads, bridges and maintenance of secondary, or farm-to-market roads, is infrastructure in Southwest Arkansas? What projects critical. It is also a consistent challenge for municipal would you like to see next? and county officials charged with maintaining the under-resourced road budgets. Curt: Arkansas is ranked 12th in total highway In 2020, the district was forced to close seven mileage, so we always have highway repair and bridges along secondary roads due to safety issues. maintenance that is needed. ARDOT does a very Most were built in the 1950s and ’60s and victims of good job maintaining our highways based on the limited funding and delayed maintenance. With an money available. The widening of U.S. 82 running estimated 100 “structurally deficient” small bridges in 20 Good Roads Foundation | Summer 2022
Q & A: New AGRF Board Members need of repair throughout the district, that would come at an estimated price tag of $75 million. While bridge maintenance and improvement are important to local communities, Northeast Arkansas is also planning for the future. The passage of Issue One reupped the Connecting Arkansas Program. The CAP-2 program, valued at $1.8 billion, will fund over 20 high-profile projects across the state and positively impact several rural areas. Northeast Arkansas will see about $400 million in state funding from the program. Construction on I-555 in Jonesboro, for example, is expected to be completed by late 2023. The Intermodal footprint, which benefitted from the Highway 412 widening in the first program, will also see significant improvements in the second iteration. Approximately $50 million has been designated to widen the corridor between Cave City to Independence County. There is also $180 million earmarked to complete the I-57 project to the Missouri state line.
This project is especially important to economic development in the rural communities of Northeast Arkansas. While the final route isn’t expected to be announced until summer of 2022, the final leg of the interstate will connect Chicago to Dallas with the Intermodal area as the midpoint. If route two is chosen, Pocahontas and Corning will be within two to three miles from the interstate. This is good news for an area that has already seen a significant increase in truck traffic in recent years. Large trucks traveling Highway 67 between the two communities make up approximately 32 percent of all traffic, while Pocahontas is currently seeing daily traffic counts up to 23,000 vehicles. That is high for a rural community with a population of less than 7,000. The I-57 corridor will allow for additional industry recruitment opportunities and help existing businesses deliver goods more efficiently. It will also open opportunities for talent recruitment, new housing and population growth.
Summer 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 21
By the Numbers Arkansas had the thirdhighest increase in fatal car crashes nationwide in 2020, according to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. While the number of fatal car crashes increased nationwide, the increase was particularly dramatic
$26.5 Billion A survey from AAA found that one in 10 American drivers has sustained significant vehicle damage from potholes, at an average cost of almost $600 per repair. The total cost to drivers because of potholes in 2021, the organization said, was $26.5 billion.
in Arkansas, which saw a 24.9% rise,
only behind the District of Columbia and Vermont.
Bridge over the Ouachita River at Calion (northeast of El Dorado) in Union County. (ARDOT Photo)
Roads & Bridges
Photo by Bill Paddack
As a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced $52.5 billion for highways and more than $5.3 billion for bridges for fiscal year 2022. Over the next year, states, territories, Tribes and local governments will start to improve 65,000 miles of roads and 1,500 bridges with federal funding, representing a 44% and 50% increase, respectively, from average annual improvement levels over the past six years.
Total number of fatal car crashes in Arkansas in 2020. That’s compared to 511 in 2019. Of the fatal wrecks, 26.7% were speeding-related. Alcohol-impaired wrecks also accounted for 26% of fatal crashes in Arkansas, according to the NHTSA report.
Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers provides a comprehensive assessment of the nation’s infrastructure in its Infrastructure Report Card. Using a school report card format, it examines infrastructure conditions and needs and assigns grades. The 2021 Report Card gave Arkansas a D+ and cited these statistics: cost of unmaintained roads per person, $671; miles of roads in poor condition, 6,711; bridges in poor condition, 679. 22 Good Roads Foundation | Summer 2022
Q & A: Joe Ledvina
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:
#SLOWDOWNPHONEDOWN Summer 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 23
Why Should You Join the AAPA?
Networking Advocacy Resources Information Safety Contact AAPA at: firstname.lastname@example.org (501) 219-1100 24 Good Roads Foundation
| Summer 2022
Education Representation Partnership Unity And more! More information at: www.arasphalt.com Summer 2019 | Good Roads Foundation
In Plain Sight
THE SCENE: 2 North B St. in downtown Fort Smith near the Arkansas River. WHAT: Miss Laura’s, a former brothel that “still takes care of visitors.” THE RECOGNITION: An example of baroque Victorian architecture, this iconic symbol of Fort Smith’s boisterous past as a raucous border town was selected in 1973 for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. THE HISTORY: Laura Zeigler opened it in 1903 in an infamous red-light district known as “The Row” and it soon became one of the most celebrated bordellos in the Southwest. In 1992, a restored Miss Laura’s – its outside back to the original color of forest green with cream trim – reopened as the Fort Smith Visitor Center. (Photos by Bill Paddack)
A Small Sample of Fort Smith’s Many Vivid Murals
Summer 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 25
People, Projects, Promotions James Kelley, Jr., has been selected as ARDOT’s equipment maintenance supervisor for District 5. He started with the department as a mechanic in 1992.
James Kelley, Jr.
Craig Carter (left), executive director of ACEC-MS, with Garver Transportation Project Manager Wayne Black.
The Garver-led safety and construction design for U.S. 90 was recently honored with both the Grand Award and the People’s Choice Award during the American Council of Engineering Companies of Mississippi Engineering Excellence Awards. The Mississippi Department of Transportation selected Garver to conduct a comprehensive traffic and safety evaluation of U.S. 90, located in the urban area of Pascagoula, in order to construct a safer highway. After analyzing over 1,000 crash reports to understand the best course of action for the corridor, Garver implemented an innovative systematic access management approach that it branded as a “Hybrid Superstreet,” which improves traffic flow and decreases angle crashes. “Although the goal of this project was to improve safety within the corridor, our designs also took into account mobility and future growth in the community,” Garver Transportation Project Manager Wayne Black, PE, said. “Ultimately, that’s what we’re building toward: a community that is safer and better equipped for the future.”
Garver and two of its employees were honored by the Mississippi Engineering Society during its winter meeting. Steve Haynes, who delivered transportation infrastructure solutions for more than 40 years before retiring from Garver in 2020, was awarded the 2022 Steve Haynes Distinguished Engineer Award, and Senior Transportation Project Manager David Seal, PE, won the 2022 Engineer of the Year Award. As a firm, Garver was also honored with the Private Practice Professional Development Award. Jeffery Smith has been promoted to Arkansas Highway Police captain in District 5 at West Memphis. He holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Arkansas State University. Smith began his career with the Highway Police in 2004 as a patrol officer. Jeffery Smith
Terry King has been selected as the area maintenance supervisor for ARDOT in Desha County. He began his career with the department in 2009 as a single axle truck driver. Terry King
Transportation Connections is compiled by Good Roads Editor Bill Paddack. Possible items for inclusion can be sent to him at email@example.com. 26 Good Roads Foundation | Summer 2022
Nancy Harmon has been promoted to Arkansas Highway Police captain in District 4 at Hope. She holds a bachelor’s degree in applied science from Texas A&M and an associate degree in criminal justice. She began her career with the department in 1987 as a patrolman.
Trella Sparks has been selected as deputy chief counsel in the Legal Division at ARDOT. She earned her juris doctorate in law from UA Little Rock and also earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and French at Arkansas Tech. She began her time with the department in 2017 as a staff attorney.
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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
Highway 248 west of Waldron on the way to Lake Hinkle, which is known for largemouth bass, catfish and crappie fishing. (Photo by Bill Paddack)
Jack Buffington Jeffrey Sand Company Jensen Construction Company Jim Wooten JoAnne Bush Johnnie Bolin Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce Keith Gibson
28 Good Roads Foundation | Summer 2022
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
Queen Anne’s lace growing alongside U.S. Highway 71 south of Greenwood. (Photo by Bill Paddack)
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
Summer 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 29
Concrete Infrastructure Is Focus of Project UA assistant professor of civil engineering has been awarded a $3 million research grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Cameron Murray, Ph.D., assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, whose research Dr. Cameron Murray interests include structural concrete and rapid-setting cements, recently received a $3 million grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to investigate novel solutions to military infrastructure problems. This award is the largest single award in the history of the UA civil engineering program. Murray, along with colleagues
“One thing I always try to impress upon my students when I teach reinforced concrete design is just how important concrete is to our modern way of life.” – Dr. Cameron Murray
and students in the Civil Engineering Department, will work to develop alternative materials for rapid repair and construction of concrete structures and pavements, heat-resistant pavement materials, novel blast-resistant concrete and evaluation and mitigation methods for alkali silica reaction (ASR) in concrete. Project Benefits Center The two-year project will see Murray’s team collaborating with the research arm of the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). The site of the project, the 37,400-square-foot Grady E. Harvell Civil Engineering Center
(CEREC), which opened in July of 2021, will benefit a great deal thanks to the equipment that will be incorporated into the lab. The CEREC facility allows faculty and students to construct and test full-scale structural concrete with a variety of methods including under impact loadings. Murray and his team will be doing testing and research that very few institutions around the country will be capable of conducting thanks to the CEREC facility and this grant. Along with the research conducted on the Fayetteville campus, students will be able to visit the ERDC in Vicksburg, Miss., along with presenting research findings at conferences.
During the project, Murray’s team will have a chance to collaborate with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center.
30 Good Roads Foundation | Summer 2022
Dr. Cameron Murray and UA civil engineering students perform tests on concrete. (Photos Courtesy of University of Arkansas)
Five Tasks This Advanced Concrete Research and Development project will consist of five tasks all related to concrete infrastructure. • Understand how rapid-setting cement behaves in extreme cold and heat. • Develop magnesium cement mixtures that are more resilient against extreme heat and more environmentally friendly than standard portland cement, currently the most commonly used cement globally. Portland cement can take up to a month to reach full strength and is responsible for a large amount of CO2 emissions. • Develop rapid-repair techniques for concrete structures. • Investigate blast/impact resistance on self-stressing ultrahigh-performance concrete. • Investigate test methods for rapid characterization of alkali silica reaction (ASR).
Significance of Concrete concrete design, materials or Most of the project goals target construction. Murray is the military applications. However, the first faculty member from the work is expected to be applicable University of Arkansas to garner to most civilian infrastructure this recognition. as well. Concrete is an integral To learn more about Murray’s component in today’s society. research, please visit www. “One thing I always try to camerondmurray.com. impress upon my students when I teach reinforced concrete design is Most of the just how important concrete is to our modern way of life,” Murray project goals said. “It’s the second most widely target military used material on earth behind water.” applications. This is not Murray’s first However, the recognition for his research with concrete. He was recently awarded work is expected the Walter P. Moore, Jr., Faculty to be applicable Achievement Award from the American Concrete Institute at its to most civilian spring 2022 convention in Orlando, infrastructure Fla. The award recognizes faculty as well. members for excellence and innovation in the teaching of Summer 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 31
USDOT Announces Historic Vehicle Fuel Economy Standards
The new CAFE standards are designed to require a fleet average of 49 miles per gallon by 2026, save consumers money at the pump and advance U.S. energy independence. (Photo by Bill Paddack)
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on April 1 announced new, landmark fuel economy standards that follow President Joe Biden’s executive order to drive American leadership forward on clean cars. USDOT says the new standards will make vehicle miles per gallon more efficient, save consumers money at the pump and reduce transportation emissions. The new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards require an industry-wide fleet average of approximately 49 mpg for passenger cars and light trucks in model year 2026, the strongest cost savings and fuel efficiency standards to date. USDOT says the new standards will increase fuel efficiency 8% annually for model years 2024-2025 and 10% annually for model year 2026. They will also increase the estimated fleet-wide average by nearly 10 miles per gallon for model year 2026, relative to model year 2021. Reducing Fuel Use Strong fuel economy standards strengthen U.S. energy independence and help reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Since CAFE was signed into law in 1975, 32 Good Roads Foundation | Summer 2022
the standards have reduced American oil consumption by 25%, or approximately 5 million barrels a day since then. The new CAFE standards for model year 2024-26 will reduce fuel use by more than 200 billion gallons through 2050, as compared to continuing under the old standards. Increasing vehicle efficiency and reducing fuel use will save American families and consumers money at the pump. Americans purchasing new vehicles in 2026 will get 33% more miles per gallon as compared to 2021 vehicles. This means new car drivers in 2026 will only have to fill up their tanks three times as compared to every four times that new car drivers today do for the same trips. “Today’s rule means that American families will be able to drive further before they have to fill up, saving hundreds of dollars per year,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “These improvements Pete Buttigieg will also make our country
less vulnerable to global shifts in the price of oil and protect communities by reducing carbon emissions by 2.5 billion metric tons.” Improving Public Health USDOT says the new standards will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, and these reductions will improve public health and provide environmental justice for communities who live near freeways and other heavily trafficked roadways, which are disproportionately low-income communities of color. “NHTSA is helping American families by making life more affordable – and the air cleaner for their children. These vehicles will be better for the environment, safer than ever, and cost less to fuel over their lifetimes. We are proud to fulfill President Biden’s mission to move us to a more sustainable future, one that strengthens American energy
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“These improvements will also make our country less vulnerable to global shifts in the price of oil and protect communities by reducing carbon emissions by 2.5 billion metric tons.” – U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg independence and helps put more money in American families’ pockets,” Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s deputy administrator, said. This announcement of new standards comes as the automobile industry is retooling production for future models in response to rapidly growing market demand for cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles. Nearly all auto manufacturers have announced new electric vehicle models. Shifting to Electric USDOT says more robust fuel economy standards will encourage the industry to continue improving the fuel economy of cars powered by internal combustion engines as the transportation sector transitions to electrification. The final fuel economy standards follow the president’s executive order directing NHTSA to review the 2020 “The Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks” final rule. The CAFE standards also support the Biden-Harris administration’s priorities to cut costs for American families, improve public health, combat climate change and create and sustain good-paying jobs with a free and fair choice to join a union. For more information, visit www.NHTSA.gov/ CAFE.
Summer 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 33
National Trooper of the Year
Arkansas State Trooper Spencer Morris honored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police for his heroic actions during attempted traffic stop. Arkansas State Trooper headquartered at Forrest City. Spencer Morris has been selected Morris was recognized for his National Trooper of the Year by heroic actions on Dec. 16, 2021, the leadership of the International during an attempted traffic stop that Association of Chiefs of Police, ended in Memphis. While working State and Provincial Division. The his assigned interstate patrol duties, prestigious award was presented Morris answered the radio call in March during a ceremony at from the United States Marshals Seattle, Wash., before an audience Service requesting assistance in the of law-enforcement officers from apprehension of a wanted fugitive across the nation. from South Carolina believed to be In April, the American armed and considered dangerous Association of State Troopers also who was traveling through West named Morris National Trooper of Memphis along Interstate 55 headed the Year. toward Memphis. Morris was the Trooper Spencer Morris Morris, 34, of Crittenden closest law-enforcement officer in County, is a graduate of the 2018 Arkansas State the area who would have been able to intercept the Police Training Academy and was among a group of vehicle. four regional state trooper finalists who collectively comprise the epitome of preeminence among lawApproaching the Suspect enforcement officers across the nation. Morris is About 2:30 p.m., he observed the suspect’s vehicle assigned to the Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, and began to position his patrol car for the traffic stop.
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“Trooper Spencer Morris is just one example of more than 500 other Arkansas State Troopers, just like him, who set aside awesome risks to themselves each day to make their state a safer and better place to call home.” – Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police
As he closed in on the car, multiple gun shots from the suspect vehicle were directed at Morris with one round striking him in the upper chest. His body armor slowed the round, causing a minor wound. Despite the injury and the imminent deadly threat to himself and other motorists traveling into Memphis, Morris began to return gunfire directed at the fleeing suspect. As the pursuit approached the I-55 McLemore interchange, the suspect vehicle slowed and came to a stop, the wounded trooper radioed his location and requested assistance. Morris moved his patrol car to the roadside and at a safe distance exited his vehicle to take up a defensive position. Quickly local police officers joined him, along with paramedics, who extracted him from the scene, moving the wounded
trooper to a nearby hospital where doctors determined the wound was non-life threatening. With traffic diverted from the interstate, a SWAT team moved toward the suspect vehicle to find the wanted fugitive and another occupant still in the car, both deceased. Later the same day, Morris was released from the hospital and taken to his home where family surrounded the trooper; all thankful to be reunited. ‘Always Ready to Serve’ In his comments to the Seattle audience, Colonel Bill Bryant, director of the Arkansas State Police said, “Arkansas State Troopers patrol more than 16,000 miles of state highways every day and along the way, they stop to serve the citizens, whether it’s to help change a flat tire, or just take a minute to listen to someone’s concerns or troubles.” “These men and women we know as Arkansas State Troopers are part of the fabric that hold local communities together,” Bryant said. “They are among the best-trained law-enforcement officers in the country, dedicated and always ready to serve.” Bryant stated, “Trooper Spencer Morris is just one example of more than 500 other Arkansas State Troopers, just like him, who set aside awesome risks to themselves each day to make their state a safer and better place to call home.” Morris returned to active duty and continues patrolling the Arkansas highways, in and around Crittenden County.
Ann Cox Cash, Former Member of AGRF Board, Passes Away
Ann Cox Cash
Ann Cox Cash, 83, of Lake Village, a former member of the Good Roads Executive Board, passed away on June 19. Born in Memphis, she moved with her cotton-farming family to Redleaf Plantation near Lake Village when she was 5. It was there that she learned to not only love the land, but to appreciate the integral role water provided. That appreciation led her to become one
of the biggest advocates for water conservation in the state. She served on the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission and advocated for the Boeuf-Tensas Irrigation District. Ann was also dedicated to the betterment of Arkansas’ roads and highways. She was a fierce advocate for the project that would eventually turn U.S. Highway 65 into a four-lane highway from Lake Village to Pine Bluff. She married Don Cash 46 years ago, and the two managed businesses and farm partnerships together for many years. Summer 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 35
J.B. Hunt and BNSF Introduce Joint Initiative To Improve Intermodal Capacity Challenges in container capacity, which will support efficient J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., and BNSF throughput and strong service performance. Railway Co. (BNSF) announced in March that they In addition to growing its container count, J.B. are launching a joint effort to substantially improve Hunt will add supporting chassis based on market capacity in the intermodal marketplace while also need. Over the years, both companies have invested meeting the expanding needs of current customers. billions of dollars to ensure intermodal’s ability to Demand for intermodal services has grown grow with customers and meet the increasing demand significantly in recent years as companies look to for intermodal services. secure capacity while reducing costs and their carbon “More than 30 years ago, J.B. Hunt Transport footprint. Based on current and projected trends, J.B. Services and BNSF predecessor the Atchison, Topeka Hunt plans to grow its intermodal fleet to as many and Santa Fe Railway Co. loaded a Hunt trailer onto a as 150,000 containers in the next three to five years, railcar to help usher in the modern age of intermodal a 40-plus percent increase from its count at the end freight transport,” BNSF President & CEO Katie of 2021. The company has completed more than 4 Farmer said. million intermodal loads since 2020. “BNSF’s industry-leading service combined with “Over the past few years, intermodal has been J.B. Hunt’s unparalleled intermodal product has set disrupted by increased demand and tight capacity, the standard for seamless door-to-door service. We resulting in poor container velocity and long dwell times,” J.B. Hunt President & CEO John Roberts said. will raise the bar on service to the next level through technology and innovation as we further integrate “Together, J.B. Hunt and BNSF will enhance their our platforms with real-time data exchanges. We work to bring back the consistency and reliability customers expect with intermodal services and further want our customers to enjoy the best of both worlds: economical and environmentally friendly service embrace intermodal conversion and transloading delivered by transportation’s services. This priority falls directly in line with J.B. “Together, J.B. Hunt and premium providers.” Hunt’s mission statement BNSF will enhance their Enhancing Efficiencies to create the most efficient The companies will transportation network in work to bring back the technology – North America.” consistency and reliability leverage including the industry-leading customers expect with J.B. Hunt 360° – to improve Raising the Bar in rail transport. Looking forward and intermodal services efficiencies J.B. Hunt 360’s digital freight as part of the initiative, and further embrace matching platform is one of the BNSF will increase in the industry to support capability at multiple intermodal conversion and few intermodal services. Based intermodal facilities. To transloading services.” on analysis of J.B. Hunt 360 further integrate its joint – J.B. Hunt President transactions and annual bid service product with J.B. Hunt, BNSF is providing & CEO John Roberts activity, the company estimates that an additional 7 to 11 several property locations million shipments could be converted to intermodal, around key intermodal hubs in Southern California, supporting long-term growth opportunities while Chicago and other key markets to increase efficiency at terminals. Additionally, BNSF will bolster its railcar avoiding carbon emissions. J.B. Hunt and BNSF disrupted the transportation equipment to accommodate the anticipated increase 36 Good Roads Foundation | Summer 2022
The aim of the collaborative project by J.B. Hunt Transport Services and BNSF Railway Co. is to meet the increasing demands of customers by enhancing capacity in the intermodal marketplace. (Photo Courtesy of J.B. Hunt)
industry in 1989 by developing a double-stack shipping solution that would complement both rail and trucking services, a first for modern transportation. Today, J.B. Hunt operates the largest company-owned intermodal fleet in North America with more than 109,000 53-foot containers supported by companyowned chassis and tractors. BNSF operates the largest intermodal rail network handling roughly 1 million more intermodal units each year than any other railroad. Through their investments, they offer the fastest intermodal route between Southern California and the Midwest. About J.B. Hunt J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., an S&P 500 company, provides innovative supply chain solutions for a variety of customers throughout North America. Utilizing an integrated, multimodal approach, the company applies technology-driven methods to create the best solution for each customer, adding efficiency, flexibility and value to their operations. J.B. Hunt services include intermodal, dedicated, refrigerated, truckload, less-than-truckload, flatbed, single source, final mile and more. J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., stock trades on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol JBHT and is a component of the Dow Jones Transportation Average. J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc.
About BNSF BNSF Railway is one of North America’s leading freight transportation companies. It operates approximately 32,500 route miles of track in 28 states and also operates in three Canadian provinces. BNSF is one of the top transporters of consumer goods, grain and agricultural products, low-sulfur coal and industrial goods such as petroleum, chemicals, housing materials, food and beverages. The company’s shipments help feed, clothe, supply and power American homes and businesses every day. BNSF and its employees have developed one of the most technologically advanced and efficient railroads in the industry. The company works continuously to improve the value of the safety, service, energy and environmental benefits it provides to customers and the communities it serves. You can learn more about BNSF at www.BNSF.com.
“We will raise the bar on service to the next level through technology and innovation as we further integrate our platforms with real-time data exchanges.”
– BNSF President & CEO Katie Farmer
Summer 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 37
“It’s going to make the traffic flow a whole lot more improved going west on 630 from downtown Little Rock.” – State Highway Commission Chairman Robert S. Moore, Jr., of Arkansas City, on the first phase of the 30 Crossing project being expanded to include a ramp giving downtown motorists access to westbound Interstate 630 via the southbound Interstate 30 frontage road. The addition to the project will add another six months of construction to the project through downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock, to July 2025, as well as an additional $55 million in costs to the $540 million price tag for the first phase. The change will bring the construction cost of the total project to $1.12 billion.
“The transportation sector is a leading contributor to air pollution and climate change. Thankfully, the technologies and systems are in place to make these benefits a reality, especially in communities most impacted by harmful pollution today.”
– Laura Turner, American Lung Association, in a report that notes in Arkansas a transition to electric vehicles by 2050 would result in up to 865 avoided deaths, 20,300 avoided asthma attacks and 90,700 avoided lost workdays.
“There will be unprecedented amounts of money spent on infrastructure, which is badly needed. Our economy can’t expand without good infrastructure in place.”
– Crafton Tull President & CEO Matt Crafton, in an interview with Talk Business & Politics, on why the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by Congress “is a big deal for our economy.”
“This will allow for 43% more product to be put into the same barge, and with the inflationary times and high fuel prices along with truck driver recruitment shortages and constraints, this improvement will reap benefits for the River Valley for years to come.”
– Marty Shell, president of Van Buren-based Five Rivers Distribution that operates the port of Fort Smith and a port facility in Van Buren, on news that funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has put the first significant funding in a decades-long effort to deepen the Arkansas River navigation channel to 12 feet. Much of the river system depth is now at nine feet.
38 Good Roads Foundation | Summer 2022
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
Summer 2022 | Good Roads Foundation 39
Arkansas Good Roads Foundation P.O. Box 25854 Little Rock, Arkansas 72221
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