LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Springdale native, Bobby Hopper, died Friday night at age 89.

Bobby Hopper was appointed by former President, Bill Clinton, in 1983 when Clinton was the Governor of Arkansas.

Hopper served on the highway commission for 16 years, making him the longest standing highway commissioner to serve Arkansas.

President Clinton said about his passing, “Bobby was a remarkable person – a good man, a good friend, a model citizen, and one of the finest and most effective highway commissioners ever”.

Hopper pushed the tunnel to open on what is now Interstate 49 in 1999.

A quote from Hopper back in 2019 reveals his thoughts on being able to make history with this tunnel.

“It feels good to me because when we built the tunnel, it opened up the highway. I predicted that it would be half a million people here, but I think it’s probable at a million,” said Hopper in 2019.

The tunnel is in between Fort Smith and Fayetteville and it is the only highway tunnel in Arkansas.