Arkansas approves underground tunnel linking Capitol and MAC Building


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Little Rock, Arkansas – On Tuesday, the Policy-Making Committee of the Arkansas Legislative Council approved a tentative contract of approximately $3.87 million with Kinco Constructors, LLC. This contract aims to construct an underground tunnel starting at the state capitol.

The initiative, termed the ‘Arkansas State Capitol Secured Walkway,’ plans to link the State Capitol basement and the Big Multi-Agency Complex (MAC) building’s 4th/5th floors through an underground tunnel, which will be equipped with stairs and elevators on both sides.

Rep. Lane Jean, representing District 99, expressed reservations about proceeding with the contract’s ratification.

“I just do not believe this is a proper expenditure of public money and I will be voting no,” Jean remarked.

Rep. Jeff Wardlaw of District 8 noted in an executive subcommittee that the funds allocated for this undertaking have been earmarked since 2009.

“This will be spent in a biennium set so you’ll use the $2 million appropriation one year and then basically the $2 million appropriation for the following year,” elaborated Wardlaw.

Matthew Shepard, the Arkansas Speaker of the House, underscored the project’s significance, especially given the Secretary of State’s ongoing endeavors to enhance the HVAC on the capitol’s North end.

By executing these projects concurrently, Shepard believes there will be notable cost savings and improved linkage between the two edifices.

“I think it’s going to provide continued functionality for years to come,” Shepard commented.

While the specifics regarding the walkway’s accessibility remain to be decided, Shepard anticipates its use by the public, legislative members, and other personnel.

“There’s a lot of back and forth between the two buildings,” Shepard noted. “If this were a bank or some other state building maybe we would add on or build something adjacent to it but it’s not, it’s the state capitol so the options to improve the connectivity between the two buildings is limited.”

Shepard emphasized the added safety the walkway will offer, especially considering the current need to navigate through parking areas and sloped terrains leading to stairs.

Wardlaw anticipates the completion of this project by 2025, prior to the regular session.


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