I-40 Projects at West Memphis Put on Hold

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - State highway officials have decided to hold off on taking bids on an east Arkansas interstate project because of uncertainty over federal funding.

Bids were to be opened tooday on the roughly $24 million project to reconfigure the east Interstate 40 and Interstate 55 interchange at West Memphis. But Arkansas Highway Commission members decided to drop the project from a list of 12 scheduled for bid openings.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters says her agency would delay and even cut back payments for state road and bridge construction nationwide because the federal Highway Trust Fund had been depleted. The federal government typically covers 80 percent of the costs of a project on all highways.

The West Memphis interstate project would include new lanes and ramps to make it smoother and safer for traffic to move from one interstate to the other.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)