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Roads

The Arkansas State Highway Commission has opened bids for improvements to roadways in Van Buren County. The purpose of this project is to resurface 9.5 miles of Highway 16 from Highway 65 to Shirley. Delta Asphalt of Arkansas Inc. of Paragould was awarded the contract at $1,394,769.08.

Construction is scheduled to begin in two to four weeks, weather permitting. The project should be complete by early fall.

A second project will resurface 1.1 miles of Highway 65 from Highway 124 to Damascus. Delta Asphalt was awarded the contract at $477,914.24. Construction is scheduled to begin in two to four weeks, weather permitting. The project should be complete by early fall.

Both projects are being funded with revenue generated from the severance tax on natural gas.

Additional travel information can be found at www.ArkansasHighways.com.

It’s a wrap

The House and Senate wrapped up the business of the 89th General Assembly on Tuesday and Gov. Mike Beebe signed into law ground-breaking legislation encompassing Arkansas’ private option for expanding health care insurance to thousands of the state’s working poor under the federal Affordable Care Act.

The legislation, if approved by federal officials, will provide the nation’s only private health insurance option as an alternative to Medicaid expansion.

Moments after adjournment, Beebe signed enabling legislation for state human services officials to proceed with setting up a program using federal Medicaid dollars to subsidize the purchase of private health insurance for an estimated 250,000 people with annual incomes of up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level through the state’s health insurance exchange rather than adding them to the Medicaid rolls.

Beebe also signed legislation authorizing the use of federal money to fund the program. — Arkansas News Bureau

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