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I-49 One Step Closer to Being Realized


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#241 Mith242

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 11:39 AM

The one good thing is now NWA is big enough to begin controlling it's own funding for transportation and having to totally rely in the AHTD. So in the long run I think this will help the Bella Vista Bypass. But that's not going to do anything for the stretch of I-49 needed between Ft Smith and Texarkana through the Ouachitas. I think that's where things are really going to hang up for a long time. And as zman stated Arkansas is never going to be able ti fund anything like that on it's own. It's going to take federal funds to get that section done.

 

#242 KJW

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 03:31 PM

The one good thing is now NWA is big enough to begin controlling it's own funding for transportation and having to totally rely in the AHTD. So in the long run I think this will help the Bella Vista Bypass. But that's not going to do anything for the stretch of I-49 needed between Ft Smith and Texarkana through the Ouachitas. I think that's where things are really going to hang up for a long time. And as zman stated Arkansas is never going to be able ti fund anything like that on it's own. It's going to take federal funds to get that section done.


Mith, when my blasted computer gets fixed I'll try to post a map. Either I or Cowbreath had posted a map of the then-existing interstate system, and the news from Missouri and Texas dramatically changes it. Eight counties in Missouri will be part of the continuous I-49 as of 2012's end. 14-15 counties from Brownsville, McAllen, Corpus Christi, Victoria, Houston, Lufkin to Nacogdoches will be apparently eligible to put up I-69 signage (6 miles of Corpus Christi area highway was so designated in a big "to-do" last year) immediately as well. According to news reports nearly 300 miles of Texas' 600+ mile stretch of I-69 will be interstate quality right now with more in the works, and (of course) those "Future I-69 Corridor" signs won't come down any time soon now. Thing with Texas is, it will be "stop, start, stop, start" on I-69 stretches along their segment of it, though at least 75 miles of Houston area road are ready to be designated I-69 right now.

I'm with you about money, and especially the Ft. S to TXK stretch. (I've seen dirt being moved on US 71 near DeQueen for what appear to be extra lanes, but I'm not sure what that's about.) East Texas newspapers are abuzz with "this Interstate 69 is REALLY going to happen" articles, but the Lufkin paper said that it may not be complete for "most of our lifetimes" as there will need to be a brand new highway built between Marshall and Longview between Nacogdoches and TXK for this. I don't know what Louisiana's doing on their side of I-49 north of Shreveport to the Arkansas line. (Bigboyz from Texarkana Urban Planet has done a good job of following this...Arkansas has done far more work - amazing that Texarkana is poised to become a hub of THREE interstates, regardless of whether I-69 is built northeastward from that city). And of course, the shape of our wonderful country may be such that this is never able to pass...that's a far greater concern to me than I-49/I-69 right now. (EDIT: Mith, you know how the circus people had the superstition about events happening in "3s". Well, as of the end of June, Louisiana procured funds to start its share of I-49 between Shreveport and the Arkansas line. They're slowpoking it, but are probably looking at Arkansas and saying..."if you think WE'RE taking our time...") BUT...

There WILL be jobs as a result of this. Again, a study 10 years ago predicted Fort Smith would become as big as Northwest Arkansas (it's not that far behind, actually) due to the growth it could see as a result of being a major junction. A major reason for this Texas upgrade is increased cargo from Texas ports when the Panama Canal widening project is finished in 2014. Think of it...all that gulf traffic coming through Fort Smith/NWA on the shortest route to Kansas City, Des Moines, Minneapolis, Omaha, Sioux Falls, Fargo and Winnipeg...and vice versa. My guess is there will be increased pressure on Arkansas to come through, and Mike Beebe and his successors will obviously look eastward toward the Potomac. At the very least...this year's quiet developments (I wouldn't have heard about the changes to I-49 from KC or I-69 from the Lower Rio Grande Valley had I not seen the interstate signs going up around Pineville and Neosho) has likely put a giant spotlight on this I-49-through-Arkansas project once again.

Time to break out the popcorn...

Edited by KJW, 08 July 2012 - 04:33 PM.

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#243 KJW

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 03:24 PM

Our NWA friend Dick Trammell is traveling the state promoting a ballot initiative for November that would, among other things, affect I-540. He asked, according to the Benton County Record, an assembled group last week: "How many of you think we don't need six lanes between Rogers and Fayetteville?"

He might ought to have asked for eight. Or maybe 10. There may be a "perfect storm" brewing that, like a distant supercell in mid-May on a bright day, is just too far away to see coming right at us.

"Aaroads.com" is the "Urban Planet" of interstate and highway discussion; their "Mid South" (linked here) forum covers Arkansas, Texas and West Louisiana and has a lot of interesting discussions germain to us sooner or later. Interesting tidbit yesterday on a thread on Texarkana: Right now, there are only 46 cities in all of America that have 3 or more Interstate junctions either active or planned. Only about 11 of them are west of the Mississippi. And two of those are going to come online in the future at Shreveport and Texarkana. Again, I"m not sure how many of us will live to see that happen (though the completion of I-49 from Texarkana to Shreveport and points south is MUCH closer than I thought...links on this forum) but it's now apparently GOING to happen in the future.

Other points where three interstates cross each in a spot one county apart from the other one? Only a handful of them. And out-of-the-way places like New York City/Newark, NJ; Chicago/Gary, IN; Dallas/Fort Worth. (The comparison was made between SHV/TXK and the side-by-side tri-junction cities of Champaign, IL and Bloomington, IL, each a couple of counties downstate of the Chicago area.) There are very few of these but the ones there are feed a TON of traffic.

Not saying Shreveport/Texarkana will be like NYC, Chicagoland or D/FW. What I do see is an eventual flood of traffic straight north from those two (and straight down I-49 from the "Winnie/Minnie" corridors as well to us and "those two")...and the next big place "straight north" of both cities is Fort Smith, then NWA. It's GONNA affect us, some day, big time.

Edited by KJW, 27 July 2012 - 03:38 PM.


#244 KJW

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 09:04 PM

Fayetteville, you're "on the road" (no pun intended) to getting six lanes (toward the bottom of the thread). Wish it was that way all the way for a lot farther north. :blush:

#245 Mith242

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 06:39 PM

Fayetteville, you're "on the road" (no pun intended) to getting six lanes (toward the bottom of the thread). Wish it was that way all the way for a lot farther north. :blush:

Yeah it's been mentioned on here. It's just a small section of I-540 that's being widened though. Considering the exit/entrance ramps I don't think it will even end up being quite a mile. I think the AHTD picked that section because it's short and relatively easy to do compared to sections up in Benton County.

#246 zman9810

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 07:23 AM

Fayetteville, you're "on the road" (no pun intended) to getting six lanes (toward the bottom of the thread). Wish it was that way all the way for a lot farther north. :blush:

Thanks for that link- I never had seen that site before.

It is good to know that the money is already in place to redo the I540 interchanges in NWA thanks to the bond issue passing- now we need the sales tax increase to pass in November so that the widening can continue.

#247 KJW

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:42 AM

As of today, I-49's northern end from Kansas City stops about 6 miles from the Arkansas line at Bella Vista.  Since they're building the BV bypass starting at Hiwasse now Missouri has now agreed to start building their end of the bypass as well.  Don't know when it will be finished.

 

EDIT: here's another article.

 

Plus another one from the Kansas City Star.


Edited by KJW, 12 December 2012 - 10:28 AM.


#248 Mith242

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 07:03 PM

As of today, I-49's northern end from Kansas City stops about 6 miles from the Arkansas line at Bella Vista.  Since they're building the BV bypass starting at Hiwasse now Missouri has now agreed to start building their end of the bypass as well.  Don't know when it will be finished.

 

EDIT: here's another article.

 

Plus another one from the Kansas City Star.

If it's being renamed I-49 in Missouri, I wonder why they just don't rename I-540 in Arkansas as well.  Maybe there are certain rules in place for something like that and for now the sections in Arkansas don't fit those rules. 



#249 KJW

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:24 PM


If it's being renamed I-49 in Missouri, I wonder why they just don't rename I-540 in Arkansas as well.  Maybe there are certain rules in place for something like that and for now the sections in Arkansas don't fit those rules. 

Ask and ye shall receive, friend Mith! :) (Middle of the page).

 

(EDIT: Seriously, this is making our neighbor Joplin into a key crossroads.  We'll have to wait and see what happens in Arkansas (unfortunately the Fort Smith to Texarkana stretch is going to be the worst wait) but seamless interstate transportation to Canada starting just north of Bella Vista is a significant thing for many businesses, let alone having the same ease to Kansas City, Omaha, Sioux Falls, Fargo, Des Moines and Minneapolis.  Between remote country and lake borders, there simply aren't that many interstates straight into Canada.)


Edited by KJW, 12 December 2012 - 09:28 PM.


#250 Mith242

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 05:02 PM

 

Ask and ye shall receive, friend Mith! :) (Middle of the page).

 

(EDIT: Seriously, this is making our neighbor Joplin into a key crossroads.  We'll have to wait and see what happens in Arkansas (unfortunately the Fort Smith to Texarkana stretch is going to be the worst wait) but seamless interstate transportation to Canada starting just north of Bella Vista is a significant thing for many businesses, let alone having the same ease to Kansas City, Omaha, Sioux Falls, Fargo, Des Moines and Minneapolis.  Between remote country and lake borders, there simply aren't that many interstates straight into Canada.)

 

Ah, thanks for the link.  I had wondered about that for a while.  So Hwy 49 in southeast Arkansas is the problem.  Also a bit weird because of the situation in Mississippi with Hwy 49 as well.  Considering how long it's going to take to get I-49 through the Ouachitas I wonder if they'll just drag their feet on trying to do something about renaming I-540.  I've really also wondered just how expensive it's going to be to go through the Ouachitas.  With the east-west topography of the mountains a north-south interstate is going to be a real pain.  In the past they might have just blown entire mountainsides away to put in an interstate.  But today seems like they might have to consider some tunnels in some areas. 



#251 zman9810

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:58 PM

The bridge over the Arkansas River alone will be in the $500,000,000 range. Obviously the State of Arkansas won't be able to come up with that type of money for one project much less the even larger amount to build I49 south to the Dequeen area (I think there has been construction close to there). In this time of intense pressure to cut federal spending it is unlikely that the feds will fund the highway anytime soon. It just seems that the completion of I49 is many, many decades away unless a major backer comes out of the woodwork.



#252 cdj00

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:39 PM

The construction between Waldron and Mena would be intense and from Mena to DeQueen not any easier. From DeQueen to Ashdown would be the easiest, but still hilly and rocky. These towns desperatly need this interstate to be built. The state as a whole needs it. Once completed it has the possibility to rival a lot of roads for a very scenic drive.



#253 KJW

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 09:50 PM

Ah, thanks for the link.  I had wondered about that for a while.  So Hwy 49 in southeast Arkansas is the problem.  Also a bit weird because of the situation in Mississippi with Hwy 49 as well.  Considering how long it's going to take to get I-49 through the Ouachitas I wonder if they'll just drag their feet on trying to do something about renaming I-540.  I've really also wondered just how expensive it's going to be to go through the Ouachitas.  With the east-west topography of the mountains a north-south interstate is going to be a real pain.  In the past they might have just blown entire mountainsides away to put in an interstate.  But today seems like they might have to consider some tunnels in some areas. 

 

Mith, I know it will be better for Arkansas to keep the current route (all along the western counties) but it's a shame they couldn't extend the Fort Smith interstate (ends at Pocola) and make it follow U.S. 59 and the Kansas City Southern railroad through Poteau and Heavener, OK back to Mena (where even though there are hills U.S. 71 and the KCS start having an easier path) down to DeQueen.  I think the DeQueen-Texarkana segment won't be that bad though a bridge will likely have to be built over Little River.

This is still a very big deal what happened this week as it puts pressure on Arkansas.  The Feds (read: the current administration) are spending like there is no tomorrow, but I don't know that Arkansas would be high enough on their list for political reasons to help.  The finished I-49 would be so good for this state economically.



#254 bigboyz05

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 03:37 AM

Mith, when my blasted computer gets fixed I'll try to post a map. Either I or Cowbreath had posted a map of the then-existing interstate system, and the news from Missouri and Texas dramatically changes it. Eight counties in Missouri will be part of the continuous I-49 as of 2012's end. 14-15 counties from Brownsville, McAllen, Corpus Christi, Victoria, Houston, Lufkin to Nacogdoches will be apparently eligible to put up I-69 signage (6 miles of Corpus Christi area highway was so designated in a big "to-do" last year) immediately as well. According to news reports nearly 300 miles of Texas' 600+ mile stretch of I-69 will be interstate quality right now with more in the works, and (of course) those "Future I-69 Corridor" signs won't come down any time soon now. Thing with Texas is, it will be "stop, start, stop, start" on I-69 stretches along their segment of it, though at least 75 miles of Houston area road are ready to be designated I-69 right now.

I'm with you about money, and especially the Ft. S to TXK stretch. (I've seen dirt being moved on US 71 near DeQueen for what appear to be extra lanes, but I'm not sure what that's about.) East Texas newspapers are abuzz with "this Interstate 69 is REALLY going to happen" articles, but the Lufkin paper said that it may not be complete for "most of our lifetimes" as there will need to be a brand new highway built between Marshall and Longview between Nacogdoches and TXK for this. I don't know what Louisiana's doing on their side of I-49 north of Shreveport to the Arkansas line. (Bigboyz from Texarkana Urban Planet has done a good job of following this...Arkansas has done far more work - amazing that Texarkana is poised to become a hub of THREE interstates, regardless of whether I-69 is built northeastward from that city). And of course, the shape of our wonderful country may be such that this is never able to pass...that's a far greater concern to me than I-49/I-69 right now. (EDIT: Mith, you know how the circus people had the superstition about events happening in "3s". Well, as of the end of June, Louisiana procured funds to start its share of I-49 between Shreveport and the Arkansas line. They're slowpoking it, but are probably looking at Arkansas and saying..."if you think WE'RE taking our time...") BUT...

There WILL be jobs as a result of this. Again, a study 10 years ago predicted Fort Smith would become as big as Northwest Arkansas (it's not that far behind, actually) due to the growth it could see as a result of being a major junction. A major reason for this Texas upgrade is increased cargo from Texas ports when the Panama Canal widening project is finished in 2014. Think of it...all that gulf traffic coming through Fort Smith/NWA on the shortest route to Kansas City, Des Moines, Minneapolis, Omaha, Sioux Falls, Fargo and Winnipeg...and vice versa. My guess is there will be increased pressure on Arkansas to come through, and Mike Beebe and his successors will obviously look eastward toward the Potomac. At the very least...this year's quiet developments (I wouldn't have heard about the changes to I-49 from KC or I-69 from the Lower Rio Grande Valley had I not seen the interstate signs going up around Pineville and Neosho) has likely put a giant spotlight on this I-49-through-Arkansas project once again.

Time to break out the popcorn...

Thanks KJW. The spur of I-69 to be built to I-30 in Texarkana has been rumored to be numbered I-169 and the section of the existing beltway from I-30 to Hwy 59 will be renamed I-369. Plus the north belt around the city between I-49 and I-30 will be I-249. When all the roads are built we will have I-169, I-369, I-30, I-49 and I-249! I think it's smart the city is trying to get the freeway system in place before the growth comes since we're projected to enter a major building boom.



#255 bigboyz05

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 03:55 AM

Here is a article related to I-49. Not Arkansas news but thought you guys might find it interesting.

http://www.shrevepor...&nclick_check=1



#256 wmr

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 07:07 PM

That Mansfield to Mena section is really pretty remote, but its probably the prettiest mountain scenery in the state.  Those are big, tall, see from a distance, mountains.



#257 KJW

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 01:35 PM

This is bigger news to bigboyz05 than us (right now) but Louisiana is getting close to having all of their interstate complete for I-49...most of it should be open by late summer, and Arkansas will have its portion of I-49 to the LA border finished by 2015.  (This as quietly, I-69 from Shreveport AND Texarkana to Houston to Brownsville/Laredo is taking shape).

None of us may be around by the time Fort Smith to Texarkana is Interstate.  But someday if The Lord doesn't return first, this will be the main Canada/U.S./Mexico interstate corridor there is.  And sights like this (where the trains literally run through Whitaker Street then turn directly into the right northbound lane of U.S. 71 in Ashdown will be (Streisand)"Memmmm-orieeees"(/Streisand) to all these currently slowed-down travelers.)


Edited by KJW, 11 March 2013 - 01:38 PM.


#258 UrbanArkie

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 02:15 PM

I read in the new Car and Driver an article about I-80. It seems the privatization of tolls seems to be quite out of control. I sure hope we don't have to deal with that in our area any time soon.



#259 KJW

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 09:54 PM

DANG, ya'll!

 

11 years ago, when I first moved here I saw an editorial that said a study conducted for Fort Smith indicated the city would become as big as NWA (was) when I-49 is finished and the former city becomes the I-40/I-49 crossroads.  Someone here, wisely, said that studies can be made to say whatever one wants them to.  I concurred.

 

Today, however, I went to FSm and visited the Chaffee Crossing area, where right now they're building an "interstate to nowhere" as there's no bridge for it across the Arkansas River, yet.

 

MAN.

 

New bridges all over the place, BIG ones.  There are new subdivisions, fire stations, all sorts of things being built out there around the existing heavy industry.  And parking over that bridge and looking south and north, you can really envision what the premier highway link between Canada, America and Mexico is going to be someday (that is, if America still exists by then).  If we don't have a total economic collapse, the question won't be "will Fort Smith REALLY get as big as NWA was in 2002?"  Instead it will be "how big will it get"?

 

That being said, this past Wednesday Texarkana, AR opened up their new section between I-71 just across the Texas border over and interchanging with I-35, then down to the linkup of I-49 south toward the Louisiana line.  Next up, I-49 from near I-20 in Shreveport to the state line is supposed to open by fall.  Finally (for the non-Bella Vista and Fort Smith-to-Texarkana parts), there will be the last few miles of I-49 in south Miller County, AR, now being worked on and scheduled for opening by 2015.  


Edited by KJW, 19 May 2013 - 10:05 PM.


#260 KJW

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 02:20 PM



The one good thing is now NWA is big enough to begin controlling it's own funding for transportation and having to totally rely in the AHTD. So in the long run I think this will help the Bella Vista Bypass. But that's not going to do anything for the stretch of I-49 needed between Ft Smith and Texarkana through the Ouachitas. I think that's where things are really going to hang up for a long time. And as zman stated Arkansas is never going to be able ti fund anything like that on it's own. It's going to take federal funds to get that section done.

LRGV3%20map5.13-01.jpgTexarkana2%20map5.13-01.jpg

 

http://www.i69texasa....com/index.html

 

As of this past month, in Texas, I-69 shields have been approved to go from Brownsville nearly at the border to above Raymondville, the county seat in the county to the north.  Also (more significantly) a part of the Texarkana, TX bypass has been approved to be I-369, part of the former Interstate.

 

The "significantly" comes from the fact that I-69 will split at Tenaha southwest of Shreveport, with the I-369 going as far north as Texarkana.  Means that I-69 will essentially reach not the first but the first two major cities on U.S.71, future I-49 south of Fort Smith (and NWA).  I-69 also exists in both northeast and southwest Houston and its suburbs plus the west side of Corpus Christi, so this route is slooowly coming together in Texas, which for NWA/Fort Smith purposes is the route this area should be interested in (not minimizing the hopeful economic impact from near Detroit through mid-America into south Arkansas then Shreveport).

 

I-49 from south Fort Smith (they're building it from Greenwood north right now to Alma, regardless of whenever it's finished) to Texarkana may or may not become a reality.  But the more the pincers of I-49 and I-69 close on Texarkana/Shreveport and Fort Smith (with the ongoing BV bypass being the only interstate project left to be finished south of the Canadian border) the more, er, unwise the planners-that-be look for not building it sooner, and not working to build it now.


Edited by KJW, 09 June 2013 - 02:47 PM.





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