Arkansas Highway Department's name could change

A name change in likely in the future for the state's highway and transportation department, if lawmakers pass a bill to change it.

The Arkansas Department of Highways and Transportation could change to the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

"ARDOT is probably what it would be. That's not 100 percent in stone but that's what we've tossed around," said Danny Straessle, spokesman for the Highway Department.

Straessle says most state departments that deal with highways around the country are referred to as departments of transportation.

"Most of the documentation, the federal guidelines, the references made to the local jurisdictions, the local agencies are to departments of transportation so this would just bring our name in line with those efforts," Straessle said. 

Arkansas is the only state with highways in the name, but Straessle says they're also the lead planners for biking, freight and rails.

"We do more than just highways, I know a lot people think that's all we do because that's what our name says," he said. 

A re-branding of an entire state department would also come with a price tag.

"Well it's not something that's going to happen overnight. we're very frugal in our approach to this and as things needed to be replaced we would replace signage," he said. 

Straessle says they'd replace signage as it wore out. There is no estimate so far on the total cost of changing the highway department's name, but they do say the design of new logos would likely take place in house.

"So we won't be looking outside the agency for any help with that, we think we can do it at an extremely, extremely low cost and still make it happen," Straessle said. 

The bill passed out of a Senate committee and is now headed for a vote in the state senate.

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