ROADS LEAD TO WHAT’S IMPORTANT.
It’s not just about getting from Point A to Point B. It’s about having the freedom to get out there, live your life, and make memories happen.
At Ergon, we’re proud to deliver the right paving, preservation, and maintenance and solutions designed to keep your road networks safe and strong. Because you have places to go and people to see. Don’t let inferior road conditions get in the way of life’s adventures.
Looking Ahead to 2023 in A Changing Infrastructure WorldJoe Quinn, AGRF Executive Director
As we get ready to start a new year, Good Roads members are thinking about 2023 and challenges facing the industry. Finding and hiring talent is the number one concern for many. A company that successfully bids on new projects is also a company that needs crews ready to go immediately after being awarded the job. Increased federal and state revenue drives the economy, makes roads safer, and helps local communities, but it also means more competition in the hiring process.
But changes in pay rates, hiring, and retention issues are only part of an industry-wide shift in how business is done.
Good Roads members who once bid for work on paper now submit everything electronically. They have technology systems that merge payroll, hours worked, the status of current jobs, and even send a text to management when a worker is speeding in a company truck. They work in a world where inattentive drivers have increased danger levels in work zones. They hire young people who care about quality of life, benefits, and time off in ways their parents did not. Companies not paying attention to their benefits package will find it difficult to hire and retain young workers. If you cannot hire the right people and create a culture where they feel appreciated, it will be tough to compete.
Our members design, finance, and build roads. They produce products to be shipped, and they manage the trucking companies moving billions in cargo on any given day. Many Arkansans do not think much about the economic growth in Arkansas that is directly attributable to our state sitting at the heart of the national supply chain.
Our members manage third generation family-owned companies, and they lead engineering firms that design airports and NFL stadiums as well as interstate overpasses. Our members tend to know each other personally and understand each other. They are competitive, but they are
also respectful, professional voices advocating for the infrastructure world.
Good Roads members are also watching change at ARDOT. Lorie Tudor took the job of Director in 2020 and was soon at the epicenter of the national infrastructure discussion as ARDOT coordinated the repair of a damaged bridge at West Memphis. Tudor has listened closely to the challenges engineers and contractors are facing, and she is working to do away with a sometimes confrontational relationship between contractors and ARDOT. That is an important culture change that will not increase budgets but hopefully will lead to better quality work.
Another priority for Tudor in 2023 will be a reorganization of how ARDOT is structured. Our cover story in this issue will give you more detail on how the reorganization plan is expected to come together.
Arkansas has traditionally been a pro-business state. Not that long ago, “pro-business” meant favorable decisions on tax issues, but now it will often mean school systems and workforce development programs that prepare young people to fill thousands of job vacancies across all sectors of the economy.
During her 2022 campaign, Governor-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeatedly emphasized that the modest number of Arkansas students reading at an appropriate grade level is unacceptable, and she vowed to lead an education system that better prepares young people to compete for career opportunities.
This commitment to a stronger workforce is vital to our industry’s effort to drive the economy, make roads safer, and bring in the young talent that will lead this work in the years ahead.
As we enter 2023, please put the phone down when you drive, and remember that more than ever, change in our business is dramatic and constant.
Happy New Year.
2022 EXECUTIVE BOARD
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.
End of an Era at ARDOT and the Highway CommissionBy Joe Quinn
In a 24-hour period this month, two ARDOT legends got ready to leave the building. After ten years on the Arkansas Highway Commission, Robert S. Moore, Jr., chaired his final highway commission meeting on December 7. His affection for the agency and the people who work at the department was clear at a dinner the night before and at the commission meeting.
Moore is a Vietnam vet, the son of a county sheriff and a mom who was legendary in political circles. Standing in his trademark cowboy boots, Moore is always comfortable talking to people about infrastructure and local road issues. He is a legendary storyteller and probably as strong a voice for the southern Arkansas economy as anyone who has ever worked in the state capital political world.
On a rainy Tuesday night, more than 100 friends of Moore’s gathered in an event center a few hundred yards from the front door of the state capitol. Moore may have summed up the highway commission world as well as it can be described in remarks at the departure dinner.
“The highway commission is a great reminder that government can do things well without being political. The day I came on the commission, there were four Democrats and one Republican on the commission. As I get ready to depart, there are four Republicans and one Democrat on the commission. But in terms of the work we do, nothing has really changed. The work gets done.”
The morning after Moore said that, ARDOT Deputy Director Randy Ort attended his final highway commission meeting. Ort estimates he has attended 250 commission meetings across 35 years. He started in the communication department in 2008. Among other things in his early ARDOT years, Randy was the
face of the department during blizzards, going live on local tv standing beside a snow-covered road.
Randy is one of the rare people in life who is always calm in a crisis. (Something not always common in the communication world.)
He is funny and kind and arguably knows more about the history of issues and projects at the department than anyone. He is quick to talk about his family, and no matter what is happening, he speaks thoughtfully and respectfully of the people around him. He will be missed.
Both Robert and Randy have always been supportive of Good Roads. The work we do has to
be integrated with ARDOT to allow us to effectively educate Arkansans about the need for quality roads and bridges. They have helped us grow the profile of Good Roads, better target our messaging, and tell our story in a more data driven, sophisticated way.
The world is more complex than it was ten years ago, and an organization like ours must be willing to change to stay viable. Thank you again to Randy and Robert, two legendary ambassadors for the state and for infrastructure growth. Two people who always stayed calm during tense moments, brought a sense of humor to work, knew how to tell a story, and loved this state of ours.
“The highway commission is a great reminder that government can do things well without being political. The day I came on the commission, there were four Democrats and one Republican on the commission. As I get ready to depart, there are four Republicans and one Democrat on the commission. But in terms of the work we do, nothing has really changed. The work gets done.”
— Robert S. Moore, Jr.
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.
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!
Looking Back: Thank You Governor Hutchinson
In the Arkansas road business, there are local ribbon cuttings and then there are really significant road openings or milestone moments. In the dark days of the Issue 1 campaign when voters passed a tax extension during the heart of the Covid months, the governor was always front and center, making the case that road revenue will mean jobs, safer roads, and a strong economy.
On the historic October day in 2021 when the Bella Vista Bypass on I-49 was opened, there were 600 people and two governors present. Later in the year, a business journal said it was the most significant business story of the year in a region that is used to meaningful business stories and announcements. Governor Hutchinson stood at the ceremony and
looked across the beautiful Ozark countryside as he said he was raised on a farm just a few miles from where he was standing giving the speech.
The project involved work on 19 miles of road, took six construction phases, and cost $220 million. Projects like that don’t get done without involved and engaged governors. One year after the Bella Vista event, the governor was front and center again at the first turning of dirt for the I-49 expansion from Alma to Barling. Both projects are reminders that Arkansas is at the very heart of the American supply chain. Both will mean jobs and community growth for our children and grandchildren.
Thanks, governor, for your leadership, grace, and for always being available for our industry.
Good Roads Annual Meeting Highlights Coming Changes at ARDOTBy Deborah Horn
The Arkansas Good Roads Foundation’s November meeting was full of new information concerning ARDOT’s plans moving forward, including the restructuring of its staff and Divisions, raising the number of ARDOT’s Districts from 10 to 11, and the in-depth details of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).
The meeting was also a reminder of the retirement plans of two of the industry’s key players: Highway Commission Chairman Robert S. Moore, Jr., and ARDOT Deputy Director Randy Ort. And then, during
a Good Roads Magazine interview the week after the meeting, ARDOT Director Lorie Tudor said her retirement would happen in less than three years. She will step down before or on Aug. 24, 2025.
About 100 Good Roads members and guests filled the conference room at the Association of Arkansas Counties for the meeting that has been held for decades. In opening remarks, AGRF Executive Board President Dan Flowers said, “We’re stronger and better when we work together…We have a good momentum coming out of 2022 and going into 2023.”
Lance Lamberth, Atlas Asphalt and AGRF Board Member, talked about the need for skilled workers. Lamberth said the industry is at a juncture and needs to find a new way to attract workers, both unskilled and skilled, including the computer-savvy and the college-educated.
“It is even more critical with the upcoming workload that the highway construction industry faces,” he said. “We have to navigate the new issues and challenges and persevere.”
Rex Nelson, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist, offered an overview of the residential growth and economic development going on around the state. Nelson told the audience that each region in the state has good economic things happening that Arkansas can build on. But he cautioned that growth will only happen if state leaders work together and “don’t screw it up.”
A Time for Change
“We are good at many things, but we need to be better at long-term planning,” Tudor told the infrastructure audience during her remarks.(Photo of ARDOT)
She started with ARDOT as a clerk typist in 1981, and on March 20, 2020, she was named ARDOT’s first female Director.
Tudor said, “I am committed to working as hard as I can to be a competent and steadfast leader to all ARDOT employees, to the Legislature, and one the public can trust. I also want to ensure that the Arkansas State Highway Commission never regrets their decision to appoint me Director.”
The climb to the top gave Tudor a unique perspective, from the function of upper administration to the duties and responsibilities at the lowest levels.
The former structure “served us well in the past,” Tudor said. But with upper management retirements, the additional state funding from Issue 1 and Act 416, along with funding through the America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act, Tudor said it was time to reorganize.
Curt Green, AGRF Board Member, agreed with her assessment, saying, “As transportation demands grow and change, it’s the right time to restructure. If we aren’t going forward, we are going backward.”
With her own retirement date creeping up and other ARDOT leaders approaching retirement age, Tudor is thinking a lot about structure and who holds key jobs.
Tudor said, “The goal is to strengthen management in anticipation of increased retirement. Thus ensuring
that a capable and knowledgeable person could step into any position, even my position, and take charge without a misstep. I want to finish well, and my goal is to leave the department in a good place.”
Departments are Recast
The revamp includes a shift in what area a division might fall under and includes the creation of a Chief Administration (formerly the Chief of Staff) position. The Chief Engineer-Pre-Construction was the Deputy Director & Chief Operating Officer and now oversees Divisions such as Planning, Bridges, Local Programs, and more.
The Chief Engineer-Operations was the Deputy Director & Chief Engineer and now oversees Divisions such as Districts, Construction, Traffic Safety, and more.
The Chief Administration oversees Divisions such as Human Resources, Communication, Retirement, and more.
Green said the new structure, which includes preconstruction, operations, and administrative divisions, clearly defines departmental duties and will better meet ARDOT’s current workload.
All three Chief Engineers report directly to the ARDOT Director under the new guidelines, while the Internal Audit is an independent Division and reports directly to the Arkansas State Highway Commission.
This move also creates about 95 new positions. “Over time, transportation, infrastructure, and
“Over time, transportation, infrastructure, and maintenance needs have changed in Arkansas. This new structure will address those changes and make us more successful in the future.”
– Lorie Tudor, ARDOT DirectorLorie Tudor, ARDOT Director, and D.B. Hill, III, AGRF Board Member.
maintenance needs have changed in Arkansas. This new structure will address those changes and make us more successful in the future,” Tudor explained.
Green said, “It better supports the system’s future goals and will make the state better able to succeed as it moves forward.”
“We have two urban areas in Northwest (District 4) and Central Arkansas (District 6), and their needs are different from rural areas,” Tudor said.
One of the most notable ARDOT changes includes the creation of a new District. There were 10 but now
there are 11 Districts, and the goal is to better address all the state’s needs.
There are already more than 50 projects in the works that will help alleviate traffic congestion in the most densely populated areas, but the planning process addresses traffic issues in smaller towns as well.
Tudor navigated the department through Covid and the massive bridge repair at West Memphis that became the focus of the national infrastructure dialogue. She has changed the department culture by
pushing to eliminate tension between contractors and ARDOT staff. But with staff changes and a major departmental reorganization in the works for 2023, it is clear now that in many ways the changes have only started.
Ultimately, ARDOT must meet the public and economic demands of a growing state, and Tudor said, “It’s a heavy lift, and we must be up for the challenge.”
ARDOT is adding a new District, bringing the total number to 11. Districts 4 and 6, in Northwest and Central Arkansas, were slightly downsized to better deal with growing urban roadway problems, while the new District 11 will also look at traffic patterns across the state and help alleviate congestion in both large and small towns.
Funding Outlook Bright as New Year ArrivesBy Deborah Horn
Fresh off the heels of the Connecting Arkansas Program (CAP), ARDOT turns its attention to the future. Lorie Tudor, ARDOT Director, said, “The CAP’s program was successful. Thirty-one promises made and 31 promises kept.”
The CAP was funded by a voter-approved half-cent sales tax in 2012. It was a 10-year tax dedicated to 31 road-related projects across Arkansas. These were worth about $2 billion dollars and covered about 200 highway miles, and the final CAP project, which is located in Jacksonville, was just awarded.
That doesn’t mean ARDOT is taking a break. ARDOT’s four-year Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) will soon roll out, running from 2023 through 2026, Tudor said.
Show Us the Money
The four-year STIP program, funded by voterapproved Issue 1 of 2020, Act 416 and other state
and federal funding, will mean about $300 million annually for ARDOT and about $113 million annually for county and city roads to split.
“It’s significant,” said Jared Wiley, ARDOT Assistant Chief Engineer for Planning.
The Issue 1 sales tax money is expected to be worth about $205 million annually dedicated to ARDOT, and about $88 million annually for the state’s county and city roads to split, about $44 million for each.
The Arkansas Legislative Act 416 of 2019 allots additional funding for system preservation, including overlays, patching potholes, and bridge replacement or rehabilitation projects. It totals about $95 million annually for state highways and $25 million annually for county roads and city streets, or about $12.5 million each, Wiley said.
All together over the next four years, these programs could provide Arkansas with about $700 million for bridges, $1.2 billion for pavement preservation, $400 million for interstate maintenance and rehabilitation, and more, Wiley said.
After so many years of Arkansas engineers and contractors wondering what funding might be available during the coming year, the conversation has now generally shifted to how to make intelligent decisions about available funding.
There are about 800 STIP projects planned over the next four years, covering about 4,100 miles—nearly a quarter of the state’s total highway
system. These will replace about 271 bridges and more will be repaired or rehabbed, and there are almost 50 statewide Capacity Projects, totaling about 80 miles, designed to alleviate traffic congestion. About $560 million is budgeted for Capacity Projects, he said.
“About $200 million will go to Safety Improvement,” Wiley said.
There will be about $670 million dedicated to about 80 miles of statewide Capital Improvements done in partnership with many of the state’s cities or counties.
“There are STIP projects planned for all of the state’s 75 counties, with projects touching a quarter of the state’s overall highway system,” Wiley said.
From Urban to Rural Roads
Mark Whitmore, Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC) Chief Legal Counsel said, “STIP benefits extend beyond Arkansas interstates and highway systems. Improvements to the state’s larger connector roads will also benefit rural Arkansas.”
“The money is a huge boon to the state’s more than 50,000 miles of county roads,” and he said, it means more than just overlays and filling potholes. It will help repair or replace many of the state’s nearly 100-year-old bridges that were built during the Great Depression.
“Many of these are narrower and have lower weight capacities, often causing farmers to take longer routes to deliver their products,” he said.
Modern bridges are necessary to the economic success of farmers and other commercial endeavors, but it’s not just providing access to major transportation routes.
This money will provide Arkansans with safer bridges and roads. He said, “It even impacts the safety of our children riding on school buses.”
Whitmore is excited about Arkansas’s future and said, “We will be able to better maintain what we have, including main and secondary roads.”
In addition to Issue 1 and 416, Arkansas’s five-year portion of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) funding is about $3.6 billion.
Park Estes, Arkansas Asphalt
“The money is a huge boon to the state’s more than 50,000 miles of county roads...it means more than just overlays and filling potholes. It will help repair or replace many of the state’s nearly 100-year-old bridges that were built during the Great Depression.”
– Mark Whitmore, Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC) Chief Legal Counsel(Photos courtesy of ARDOT by Rusty Hubbard.)
Pavement Association Executive Director, said, “It will take ARDOT and industry leaders working together to utilize this funding carefully and most effectively. Already, we are discussing superior practices and the issues that might arise over the next few years. We are partnering so everyone can work safely, get quality jobs done, and then move to the next one.”
Although the funding is a “mind-boggling amount,” it isn’t enough to provide for adequate road construction and maintenance for the long term, Estes said.
Some may be more familiar with the Renew Arkansas Highways (RAH) program, which was an educational tool ARDOT used to explain the wide scope of what they might do with the additional sales tax funding during the 2020 campaign season when Issue 1 was on the ballot.
The measure passed by Arkansas voters by a margin of about 55 percent, Wiley said.
Whitmore, who worked for ARDOT before AAC and has long known Tudor, said, “I have faith in Lorie. She’s thoughtful, works more efficiently and with less staff than many other large Arkansas departments. The people of Arkansas should be proud of her.”
Economic Opportunities for All
“Over the next five to 10 years, there’s never been
a better time to be in the road construction industry,” Estes said.
The construction jobs will range from small to large projects, and in order to benefit from the potential work opportunities, no matter a company’s size, Estes said, “Go online and get familiar with STIP.” As well, he advised companies, “Put a forwardlooking strategic plan in place. Talk with your suppliers about your needs and ask them what they can realistically deliver.”
Estes said, “It’s a good time to invest in new equipment and hire and train qualified staff. The time to get ready is now.”
“Go online and get familiar with STIP...Put a forwardlooking strategic plan in place. Talk with your suppliers about your needs and ask them what they can realistically deliver.”
PROTECTING ARKANSAS CONTRACTORS FOR OVER 84 YEARS.
Alec Farmer of Jonesboro Elected Highway Commission Chair
At its December meeting, the Arkansas Highway Commission voted unanimously to make Alec Farmer the commission chairman for the coming year. The commission tradition is that the commissioner serving his or her final year on the commission serves as chairman. Farmer is a soft spoken and thoughtful leader who has served Northeast Arkansas in different capacities for decades.
Farmer, of Jonesboro, was appointed by Governor Asa Hutchinson to serve a 10-year term on the Arkansas State Highway Commission. Farmer took the Oath of Office on January 27, 2015.
Farmer is operator of Farmer Enterprises, Inc., a family-owned farm and property investment
and management company. In 2019, Farmer was inducted into the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts Conservation Hall of Fame and was a recipient of the Arkansas State University Distinguished Alumni Award.
He has served on several other state boards including as Chairman on the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, as a special commissioner on the Arkansas State Police Commission and as an original member of the Arkansas Agricultural Board. He has served on many local boards and commissions including the Craighead Conservation Board, the Jonesboro City Council, and the Jonesboro City Water & Light Board.
Farmer graduated with honors from Arkansas State University receiving his B.S. degree in 1986. He received his J.D. degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law where he served on the law school’s editorial board.
Building Electric Vehicles May Be Easier Than Charging ThemBy Joe Quinn
More and more now, drivers are noticing sleek looking electric vehicle charging stations in public places. These are located in a Walmart parking lot just off I-49 in Rogers. In the EV discussion, the location of the charging stations will mean everything.
National news outlets do all kinds of stories on electric vehicles, but getting far less attention is the complex effort to put charging stations in locations that make sense. The drive from Rogers to Little Rock is 206 miles. The time it takes to do the trip varies based on time of day, weather, and traffic issues, and it always seems faster on the downhill run to Little Rock.
Making the trip means drivers in gas vehicles have nothing to worry about, with dozens of gas station options available at almost every exit. But as the new year arrives, we are still not even close to EV owners having the same peace of mind while driving longer distances. We are a long way from the goal of having a charging station every 50 miles along the interstate where drivers can use a credit card to recharge.
Right now, if you charge an electric vehicle in your garage and then travel around town to work, school, the grocery store, and any other local destination, it’s easy to keep the car charged by plugging it in overnight. But highway trips are not the same. There is a vast difference between charging the car while you sleep and charging the car roadside while you kill time walking to a nearby restaurant.
The federal government is starting to incentivize states to aggressively work on building charging infrastructure by tying federal road funds coming to
the state to the progress made on charging stations. The massive publicity Tesla and Elon Musk have received is a reminder that our country has figured out how to build and market the vehicles, but the availability of charging options on long distance trips is lagging behind.
This is likely to be an issue we will talk more about in the next few years. There are people very tied in to the transportation world who will say privately that the charging infrastructure issues are far more complex than some national groups make them out to be. One thing that is clear is that in the early days of interstates, it was the private sector building gas stations that could fill your tank, but also check your oil and sell you a Coke. In the new world, it will take a blend of public and private efforts to make long distance trips in an electric vehicle both easy and realistic.
USBR 80 Is First Nationally Recognized Bike Route in Arkansas
In early December, ARDOT shared that United States Bike Route (USBR) 80, which passes through Arkansas, is now the state’s first nationally recognized bicycle route. Starting in Little Rock, the route stretches from where the Big Dam Bridge crosses the Arkansas River all the way to West Memphis, passing through rural areas as well as the historical downtowns of the Arkansas Delta.
Since 2008, the USBR System has expanded to almost 19,000 miles. This project aims to create a network of publicly accessible bicycle routes across the country for the purpose of long-distance (interstate) bicycle travel.
As stated by Rex Vines, ARDOT Deputy Director and Chief Engineer: “The designation of USBR 80 from North Little Rock to the Tennessee state line is the first USBR designation in Arkansas and the first segment of USBR 80 designated in the country.
The establishment of a statewide bikeway network, including USBR corridors, is part of the implementation effort for the Arkansas State Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan.” Additionally, Jenn Hamelman, a USBRS Program Manager with the Adventure Cycling Association, thanked the “state and federal agencies who recognize the importance of bicycle travel, and a BIG thank you to Adventure Cycling members and donors who make this possible.” She also thanked their partners, UAMS and Crafton Tull.
Keep Arkansas Beautiful has announced a new initiative, Eats & Clean Streets, which will help Arkansas businesses combat litter by providing them with free signage to install on their properties. These signs will remind customers not to litter, whether at the restaurant itself or elsewhere. All restaurants (sit-down, fast-food) and places that serve to-go food (convenience stores, etc.) are eligible.
Several businesses, such as Big Red Stores, Slim Chickens of Arkansas, and Potbelly Sandwiches in Little Rock have already partnered with KAB in the Eats & Clean Streets initiative. There is an online form for any interested business to request their free signage. Businesses will also receive anti-litter pledge coloring sheets for kids, as well as sample marquee messaging and social media posts.
At left, Stacy Hurst, AR Dept. of Parks, Heritage & Tourism; Colbie Jones, KAB Director.
ARDOT Public Input Sessions in Fayetteville Regarding Arkansas 112 Plans
The Arkansas Department of Transportation held three public input sessions in December regarding plans to widen Arkansas 112. These sessions focused on the proposed widening of 4 miles of Arkansas 112 from Howard Nickell Road to U.S. 412 through Fayetteville, Springdale, and Tontitown. The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for Northwest Arkansas includes turning Arkansas 112 into a major north/south connection.
Work on the road could begin by early 2024, with the work being done in phases. The three planned projects include: widening the road from two to four lanes divided by a 15-foot raised median; a 5-foot sidewalk with a 3-foot greenspace on one side; and a 12-foot sidepath with a 6-foot greenspace on the other side. The widening of Arkansas 112 would allow the road to carry significant local and regional traffic; it is a critical road for regional mobility, especially since the area population is projected to be nearly 1 million by 2045.
Pine Bluff Cultural District Development Granted $2 Million in Funding
On November 7, the Pine Bluff City Council voted unanimously to approve $2 million in funding to develop a Delta Rhythm & Bayou’s Cultural District. A collaboration between the city’s tourism director, the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Alliance, the Pine Bluff-Jefferson County National Heritage Trails Task Force, and the Pine Bluff Advertising and Promotion Commission, the cultural district will contain many attractions to draw in visitors. Plans include a blues venue showcasing the history of the city, a cinema, and food trucks.
It is estimated that the district could attract as many as 128,000 visitors, more than half of them non-local. This influx of tourists would boost the local economy even aside from the cultural district, since visitors would eat at local restaurants and stay in Pine Bluff hotels.
The $2 million will be drawn from the existing “Go Forward Sales Tax”, and additional funding will be acquired as needed. The first stage of construction, which can begin immediately, should be finished within the next two years.
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.
Arkansas Asphalt Pavement Association
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
Burns & McDonnell
Clark Machinery Company
Commercial Bank - Monticello Contractor’s Specialty Service Company
Crafton-Tull & Associates
Curt Green & Company, LLC
D.B. Hill Contractors, Inc.
Dermott Industrial Development
Dumas Chamber of Commerce
Eagle Bank and Trust
Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce
First Community Bank of Batesville
FM Structural Plastic Technology
Golden Triangle Economic Development
Hines Trucking Inc.
Horatio State Bank Hudson, Cisne & Company Hutchens Construction Company
Koss Construction Company
LaCroix Optical Company
Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce
Lion Oil Company
M & T Paving and Construction Co., Inc.
Maxwell Hardwood Flooring
McGeorge Contracting Company, Inc.
Michael Baker Int’l
Midwest Lime Company
Mobley General Contractors
Monticello Economic Development Commission
NE Ark. Regional Intermodal Facilities Authority
Ohlendorf Investment Company
OK AR Chapter American Concrete
Paragould Reg. Chamber of Commerce
Pickering Firm, Inc.
Razorback Concrete Company
Riceland Foods, Inc.
Robert S. Moore, Jr.
Rogers Group, Inc.
Ronnie Duffield Gravel Company
Ryburn Motor Company, Inc.
Springdale Chamber of Commerce
SW AR Planning & Development District
I-49 International Coalition
Jeffrey Sand Company
Jensen Construction Company
Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce
Tyson Foods, Inc.
University of Arkansas
Upper SW Regional Solid Waste Management District
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.
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Through smart infrastructure and high-performance buildings, we’re helping our clients push open the doors to what’s possible, every day.
2022 By the Numbers
One Good Roads regional policy event in Ft. Smith attracted 175 people over two days to talk about the massive economic impact of the I-49 expansion from Alma to Barling.
164,860 is the number of people who read our Facebook post about workforce development on September 29. We support these posts using targeted advertising to maximize our advertising budget and audience.
250 is the number of Highway Commission meetings that ARDOT Deputy Director Randy Ort has attended in 35 years at the department.
16,000 is the number of miles of roads that ARDOT is responsible for maintaining.
2600 is the number of miles I-69 will stretch from Michigan to Texas when it is complete.
2is the number of regional events that ARDOT hosted in Jonesboro and El Dorado to show people the regional impact of infrastructure projects done in recent years. Good Roads was proud to support this effort to talk about the larger regional context of how roads drive the economy, create jobs, and make life safer for all of us.
Four is the number of Good Roads Magazines we published this year with each edition going to an audience of more than 1,200 mayors, county judges, state elected officials, industry leaders, and all the companies that design, finance, and build roads in Arkansas.
People, Projects, Promotions
Christy Cambron has been selected for the position of Area Maintenance Supervisor in District 10, Poinsett County effective October 8, 2022.
Cambron began at the Department as a General Laborer in District 10 in September 1998. She advanced through the maintenance career path until she resigned in January 2006. Cambron returned to the Department in June 2008 as a Single Axle Truck Driver. She then promoted to Multi- Axle Truck Driver in July 2010 and moved to Backhoe/Front End Loader Operator in January 2011. Continuing forward, she obtained her current title of Crew Leader in December 2016.
Johnathan Mormon has been named District Construction Engineer for District 6 effective October 22, 2022.
Mormon has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He is a Registered Professional Engineer.
Mormon began at the Department as an Engineering Student Intern before being hired in January 2003 as an Engineer in District 2 for Resident Engineer Office #24.
He followed the engineering career path, advancing to Assistant Resident Engineer in April 2006. In May 2011, Mormon transferred to Resident Engineer Office #62 in Little Rock. He promoted to the Resident Engineer position for Resident Engineer Office #05 in Osceola in December 2013. Mormon obtained his previous position of District Maintenance Engineer in District 6 in February 2015.
Tony Evans is being named District Engineer in District Six effective October 8, 2022.
Evans has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Louisiana Tech University. He is a Registered Professional Engineer.
Evans began with the Department in September 1987 as a Civil Engineer I at the Resident Engineer’s Office #65 in Little Rock. He advanced through the engineering career path, becoming the District Maintenance Engineer of District Six in April 2012. Evans moved to his current position of District Construction Engineer in June 2014.
Samuel Davies has been selected for the position of Resident Engineer in RE Office #61 effective October 22, 2022.
Davies has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He is a Registered Professional Engineer.
Davies began at the Department as an Engineering Student Intern before being hired in June 2015 as an Engineer in the Materials Division. A year later, he moved to Resident Engineer Office #62 and followed the engineering career path, obtaining his current position of Assistant Resident Engineer in Resident Engineer Office #61 in February 2020.
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Beyond the design
At Garver, our Transportation Team provides solutions beyond current infrastructure needs to deliver long-lasting designs that our communities will use for generations to come. That includes Joel Skinner and our Arkansas Bridge Team, who utilize decades of experience to help Northwest Arkansas continue to grow.