Michael Baker International Completes Highway 70 Widening Project to Improve Transportation Safety in Arkansas

$78.5 million improvement project enhances safety and mobility by adding lanes, widening shoulders, and increasing sight distances

Little Rock, Ark. (June 14, 2018) - Michael Baker International, a global leader in engineering, planning and consulting services, provided environmental and design services for a widening project of U.S. Highway 70 between Interstate 30 and the city of Hot Springs, Ark. This $78.5 million construction project for the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) expanded the 18-mile stretch of highway from two lanes to five, reconstructed four bridges, constructed 20 box culverts, and signalized a key intersection to improve safety for both local and through traffic.  The enhanced corridor was formally opened to traffic at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 1.   
During the initial construction of Highway 70 in 1956, additional right of way was purchased to accommodate the future construction of additional lanes; however, the right of way was never cleared or graded for this anticipated improvement.  As traffic volume increased on Highway 70 through the Ouachita Mountains, so did the number and severity of accidents due in part to limited roadway width, narrow shoulders and clear zones, as well as limited sight distances due to rolling terrain, tight curves and dense forest.
Michael Baker was tasked to correct portions of the roadway that didn’t meet current standards for horizontal and vertical alignments, while minimizing right-of-way impacts, environmental impacts and costs.  The firm recommended an approach to widen the roadway on both sides by generally following the original centerline, where possible, which helped to lower costs by leveraging the existing pavement and embankment while reducing the amount of cut and fill required through the rugged landscape.
“Widening Highway 70 presented a number of design challenges related to right of way and traffic maintenance that the Michael Baker design team successfully overcame to provide the highest quality improvements at a lower construction cost,” said Mike Stengel, Vice President and Office Executive for Michael Baker’s Little Rock, Ark. office. “We are proud to have played such an integral role in this key project in central Arkansas, and we are excited about the improvements that this ARDOT project has made to both mobility and safety in this corridor.”
About Michael Baker International

Michael Baker International is a leading provider of engineering and consulting services, including design, planning, architectural, environmental, construction and program management.  The company provides its comprehensive range of services and solutions to support U.S. federal, state, and municipal governments, foreign allied governments, and a wide range of commercial clients.  Michael Baker’s more than 3,000 employees across nearly 100 locations are committed to a culture of innovation, collaboration and technological advancement to help solve challenges for clients and communities throughout the country. To learn more, visit www.mbakerintl.com

Contact: Brian Peiritsch

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