Lower-than-expected construction bids have allowed the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to finance 132 projects with the $351 million the state received for road work under the 2009 federal stimulus bill.

Glenn Bolick, a spokesman for the highway department, said the federal funds had been seen as sufficient to finance 99 projects, but bids for stimulus efforts have come in 10% to 12% below the estimates.

The state has used some non-stimulus federal funding for the 132 projects, totaling 296 miles of highway, at a total cost of $424 million.

Work has been completed on 72 projects that cost $54 million.

The department estimated that the stimulus projects created or sustained 839 jobs in Arkansas.

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