Highway Department pulls back on weight limits | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Highway Department pulls back on weight limits

Posted By on Tue, May 3, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Same song, second verse. The gas drilling industry simply will not abide being made to pay for the damage it does to Arkansas. The Highway and Transportation Department, no slouch in the political lobbying department, has been shouted down by the yowls of the industry in attempting to reduce weight limits on secondary roads in the Fayetteville shale exploration zone. (I should have mentioned that the gas drillers pulled in allies from the timber and agriculture sector because the weight limits could have affected them, too, though it's the new intense use by the gas industry that's accelerated road problems.)

The plans to reduce weight limits — and better preserve the roads from drilling rig damage — have been cut almost in half — on 69 rather than 133 miles of roads. And the 133 recommended had been edited down from some 300 miles of roads originally considered for lower limits by highway engineers.

Full details follow. Remember this when you're asked to approve a diesel tax and sales tax increase to pay for road work, some of it caused by people who won't pay their own way. The Highway Department seems to be falling back to a beg-them-for-alms approach.

HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT NEWS RELEASE


LITTLE ROCK (5-3) — The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) has cut the number of new weight-restricted miles it plans to implement virtually in half on highways in north-central Arkansas by agreeing to further postpone weight restrictions on sections of three highways, according to Department officials.

“Based on comments heard at public meetings held recently, we have decided to hold off posting weight restrictions on sections of three highways, said Highway Commission member John Burkhalter of Little Rock. “That’s about a 50 percent reduction from the 133 miles we announced in January.

“Comments received at the meetings didn’t changed the rapidly deteriorating conditions that are occurring on those highways,” Burkhalter noted, “but they have been useful in helping us determine how to best utilize the limited financial resources we have available. We believe that focusing on these sections of highway will provide reasonable transportation options for the industries and citizens that travel through that part of the state.”

The sections that will currently remain unposted include: Highway 92 between Drasco and Center Ridge in Cleburne, Van Buren, and Conway Counties; Highway 124 from Quitman west to Highway 65 in Cleburne and Van Buren Counties; and Highway 157 from Pleasant Plains south to Highway 258 in Independence and White Counties,”

The AHTD will complete resurfacing projects already planned or underway on portions of Highways 92, 124, and 157, then re-evaluate those routes to determine the useful roadway life that can be achieved without weight restrictions. They will then determine the additional improvements needed to continue allowing 80,000-pound loads on those highways and seek funding for that work. Weight restrictions will remain an option if funding is not found for the additional work.

During upcoming months, the AHTD will increase its efforts to secure additional funding by pursuing partnerships with gas exploration companies for highway projects in the Fayetteville Shale area. Over the past decade, partnerships have been successfully formed on many projects around the state. “We believe that same concept can be applied to the gas exploration industry on highways in the Fayetteville Shale area,” Burkhalter said.

“We do not want to adversely impact economic activity and commerce in the area, but we have to preserve the infrastructure that’s there,” Burkhalter said. “The gas exploration industry has provided great economic benefit and jobs during these tough times. But those benefits have come at a cost, that being the rapid deterioration to our highways. We hope the gas exploration companies share our desire to keep the highways in good shape, not only for their industry, but for the citizens in the area.”

Beginning Monday, May 16, 2011, weight restrictions will be imposed on approximately 64 miles of highways in Cleburne, Conway, Faulkner, Van Buren and White Counties.


Highways that will be reduced from 80,000 to 73,280 pounds include:

• Highway 31, from Hwy 267 to Hwy 5 in White County
• Highway 36, from Hwy 385 to Hwy 323 in White County
• Highway 356, from Hwy 92 to Hwy 225 in Van Buren and Cleburne Counties

Routes that will be reduced from 80,000 to 64,000 pounds include:

• Highway 107, from Hwy 36 to Hwy 25 in Faulkner County
• Highway 124, from Hwy 92 to Hwy 285 in Conway and Faulkner Counties
• Highway 285, from Hwy 65 to Hwy 92 in Van Buren County
• Highway 310, from Hwy 36 to County Road C-41 in Faulkner County

Tags: , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • An open line for Sunday

    An open line.
    • Sep 24, 2017
  • City plans more spending on 30 Crossing

    The Little Rock City Board meets Tuesday to set an agenda for the following week and among the "consent" items is a new $175,000 with Nelson/Nygaard consultants to "assist with a comprehensive review" of the 30 Crossing project, otherwise known as the bigger concrete ditch the Department of Transportation wants to tear through the heart of Little Rock.
    • Sep 24, 2017
  • NFL owners rise to defense of players against Trump and false patriots

    Many football team owners have risen to the defense of players against Donald Trump criticism as yet another racially fraught issue seems likely to gain increasing heat thanks to Trump's rhetoric.
    • Sep 24, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016
  • Satanic Temple: Make Rapert pay for Ten Commandments monument

    A petition drive has begun to encourage a demand that Sen. Jason Rapert pay for the legal fees in defending his Ten Commandments monument proposed for the state Capitol grounds. It's more work by the Satanic Temple, which has fought church-state entanglement around the country.
    • Aug 28, 2016
  • Another Republican miracle-working governor

    Great piece in Washington Post on the budget crisis in Louisiana. Big tax cuts and corporate welfare will do that to a state, particularly to a state whose previous governor, Republican Bobby Jindal, refused to join the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion. There's a lesson there for Arkansas.
    • Mar 4, 2016

Most Shared

  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation