ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas’ longest-serving Highway Commissioner Bobby Hopper died at 89.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation and Arkansas Highway Commission released a statement about the “deeply saddening news” of the death of Hopper.



“Bobby Hopper built a legacy of public service, hard work and perseverance in working towards a vision” said ArDOT Director Lorie Tudor.

Many Arkansans might know his name from the first and only Arkansas highway tunnel that cuts through the Boston Mountains named after him.

“Regarding I-49, Hopper once said he was there ‘from the start to the finish of the project’ and was proud how it changed Arkansas’ landscape,” the ArDOT statement says.

He also served on the Springdale Chamber of Commerce. His dedication and love toward the city could be seen with his donations and efforts to make the city better with the Bobby Hopper Park off of Emma Avenue near Parsons Stadium.

Gov. Bill Clinton appointed Hopper as the Arkansas Highway Commissioner.

“Bobby was a remarkable person — a good man, a great friend, a model citizen, and one of the finest and most effective Highway Commissioners ever” Clinton said. “I loved him, and my thoughts and prayers are with Lois, Regina, Robert, and all who will miss him. We need more people like him in public life.”

Hopper served 16 years on the Highway Commission. He served twice as Chairman in 1987-88 and again in 1997-98.

“While we have lost a great friend, a wonderful person, and a dedicated servant of the people, he and his legacy will never be forgotten” said Tudor.