Wednesday, March 07, 2018

90 Days

A judge has given a group trying to save the old Clarendon Bridge  90 days to figure out how to save it from destruction. A new bridge was open in 2016 (without much fanfare, apparently), so ARDOT wants to tears down the old bridge. 

I guess no one cares about history? Does everything that's over 50 years old have to be torn down? I am hopeful, yet fearful for this old bridge. ARDOT likes to spend money, then claim there's no does that work? Never enough money to maintain what you have, but plenty of money to build new. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Another One Gone

ARDOT in their infinite wisdom (?) has decided to replace the Lee Creek bridge on AR 59 near Natural Dam. Why? Because it's old. Built in 1934, this road was originally part of Hwy 45, but became Temporary US 59 from 1934 to 1936 before become Arkansas Hwy 59. Long story, ask me later.

So, ARDOT has built a new bridge and is in the process of dismantling the old one. It was going to be donated to the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority, but they back out of the deal. Could it have been preserved in place as a pedestrian bridge? Yes, but ARDOT didn't want to be responsible / liable if someone fell off the bridge or otherwise had a problem. So, they are demolishing it.

By my calculations, this was one of the oldest bridges on Arkansas highway that was still in service. 

I'm disappointed, I'm sad, I'm angry but I can't do anything about it. It'a another ARDOT "pet project" to waste money on.


(don't ask me where the white background came from: Blogger did it, not me.)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Coming of 612

Sometime in late 2018, ARDOT will open the first section of the US 412 Bypass around Springdale.  The first section, approximately 4 1/2 miles will run from AR 112 near Cave Springs to I-49 near Lowell. The only reason it's being built first is because the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) wants to build a private toll road from the bypass to the airport.

According to ARDOT the new highway will be designated AR 612, to be replaced eventually by US 412 once the bypass is complete sometime in 2019.

Of course, construction also continues on AR 549/Future I-49 northwest of Bentonville. ARDOT recently announced plans to begin building the other 2 lanes from US 71at Bentonville to Benton County 34/ Rocky Dell Hollow Rd near Bella Vista. That would leave roughly 5 miles to be completed to the Missouri State Line, then 5 more miles to Pineville, Missouri connecting with the other section of I-49.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Price of Progress

File this under "the price of progress". I've just returned from a trip to Alexandria, Louisiana. I've been seeking out "lost" segments of the old Jefferson Highway and early segments of US 71.
Sticking primarily with US 71, I did stray over to I-49 a couple times.

North of Shreveport, there have been a few "pop-up" gas stations and convenience stores. Nothing special: just a place to get gas or use the restroom. I used to frequent one in Ida called Crossroads Food Mart. 

I noticed the store has closed, probably two or three years ago. It was always a little run down looking, but now it looks ready for the bulldozer.

I did notice a "new" truck stop at I-49 at Mira. Likely two or three years old. Looks nice outside, but the restrooms are already looking beat up. Probably a combination of heavy use and the owner not wanting to spend the money to maintain them.

I guess this is "progress": everything on the old road dies off, but new businesses show up on the new road. It happened when US 66 was replaced, it will likely happen again if/when I-49 gets completed in Arkansas. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

91 Years

The US Highway System turned 91 today.  US 71, US 66, US 70 and a host of others replaced the Auto Trails such as Jefferson Highway, Ozark, Trail, Lincoln Highway.

The AASHO (American Association of Highway Officials) had actually approved the numbering as far back as March or April 1926, but they system wasn't officially rolled out until November 11.

There have been a lot of changes in 91 years: 66 is gone as is US 666, half of US 80 has been decommissioned, US 425 and US 278 have been added (among others) and many routes have changed alignments.  US 71 used to cross the Atchafalaya River at Melville, Louisiana and continued to Baton Rouge, but was cut back in the 1950's. US 371 went from being a Minnesota Highway (now MN 371) to an Arkansas-Louisiana Highway.

Monday, October 30, 2017

New Arkansas Speed Limits

ARDOT & the Arkansas Highway Commission are wanting feedback for proposed changes to highway speed limits.

You have until December 13 to express your opinion.

It's a lot of technical gobbledy gook, but boils down to the following

Rural Interstates – 75 miles per hour (mph)

Urban Interstates – 65 mph

Rural Multi-Lane Highways – 65 mph, unless an engineering study determines the need for a lower speed limit.

Other Rural Highways – 55 mph, with the option to increase the speed limit to 60 mph on individual highways where an engineering study determines that a higher speed limit is warranted.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

At the Sign Shop

Future I-57 signs at the ARDOT sign shop

I was half expecting I-57 signs (as opposed to "future 57), but I guess there is one more step in the bureaucracy before official approval, unless they're waiting on Missouri?