Year Inducted: 2022
Through a career devoted to improving and maintaining Alabama’s transportation infrastructure, Don T. Arkle became a trusted leader in his field both at home and across the country.
Arkle retired in 2020 as the chief engineer for the Alabama Department of Transportation, capping a 44-year career with ALDOT where he rose from a division traffic engineer to a top-level executive management position over planning and pre-construction activity. A licensed Professional Engineer since 1982, Arkle not only was influential through service in national transportation policy and guidance, but he was a strong advocate for Alabama within the profession and among federal policy and political leaders.
After graduating in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Auburn University, Arkle began work for ALDOT in Decatur, transferring to Montgomery in 1980 where he rose to Design Bureau chief in 1993. He was appointed to the position of assistant chief engineer for Policy and Planning in 2006, overseeing the bureaus of Transportation Planning and Modal Programs, County Transportation, and Office Engineer.
In 2016, he was appointed to chief engineer. His duties included the establishment of engineering policy and engaging in the planning and programming of projects and financial resources. He also supported the ALDOT director in policy matters and represented ALDOT on numerous national issues, serving as a liaison with the Alabama Legislature and the state’s United States congressional delegation.
During his time with ALDOT, Arkle was key in some of the state’s most critical infrastructure projects including the Tuscaloosa Eastern Bypass, the U.S. Interstate 22 corridor, and the U.S. Interstate 59/20 bridges project. The latter effort was a major replacement of heavily trafficked interstate bridges through downtown Birmingham that finished early and under budget while significantly improving traffic flow.
Active within the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Arkle’s service included nearly 15 years on the Geometric Design Task Force, responsible for development and upkeep of the Green Book, arguably the most influential highway design manual in the world. Arkle was also chair of the AASHTO Expert Task Force on Project Delivery, leading a multidisciplinary team of state transportation representatives to recommend ways to streamline and provide cost-effective delivery of transportation projects. He provided expertise on highway planning and design on numerous committees empaneled by the Transportation Research Board and the National Academy of Science.
Outside of national committees, Arkle was chairman of the board for the Alabama Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers, president of the Alabama Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and president of the Alabama Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers. He is also a former chairman of the Auburn University Civil Engineering Advisory Board and currently serves on the Auburn Engineering Alumni Council.
His honors include Chi Epsilon, Tau Beta Pi, a regional and national design award from AASHTO, three resolutions from the Alabama Legislature for distinguished service, and commendation from the Alabama governor. He was also honored as the 2016 Auburn University Outstanding Civil Engineering Alumni.
Don, his wife Cindy, and their four children are all Auburn Alumni. Don and Cindy reside in Prattville, Alabama and enjoy being grandparents to four grandchildren.