Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

johnnydr87

I-69 to Pass through the Arkansas Delta

Recommended Posts

I 69 will be a North-South route from Port Huron, MI, (adjacent to the Canadian border) to Brownsville, TX.

na.gif

Ever since the NAFTA trade agreements there have been heavy commutes from Canada to Mexico and vice versa. Surprisingly, the route is most traveled from Detroit to Laredo, TX, (adjacent to the Mexican border). The most traveled route passed through I-40 (Little Rock to Memphis) and I-30 (Little Rock to Texarkana).

I-530 from Pine Bluff will be extended to Warren, AR, where I-69 will pass.

According to the official steering committee site (http://www.nationali69.org/3_documents.jsp), the goals for the project are:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


If a few counties are proactive with Industrial recruiting and with establishing the industrial parks of suitable size Arkansas (and any other state along I-69) should have a substantial increase in manufacturing interest from domestic and international firms looking for medium to large production sites with access interstate access that also have low costs of operation (ie labor, utilities, etc). I-69 I hope will mean for alot of regions alot more than just some service sector jobs (ie gas stations and fast food), hopefully the areas at and around the I-69 corridor with large pools of semi-skilled and skilled labor that are under-utililzed will be able to draw in decen to good paying jobs that in what in most cases economically depressed areas.

Now with that being said not every county or town will be able to land a manufacturing plant, either by lack of effor on their part or just by simply not offering the workforce and/or site suitable for the needs of manufacturers. My hope would be those towns and small cities that do have the ability to draw these new plants will help raise opportunities of their neighboring areas which are not able to do so on their own.

I-69 should be a great thing for the Mississippi Delta. I really hope we see the full benefits that should come with the interstate, but that all depends on local and state officials willingness and ability to set up the proper conditions in the right areas to lure new industry. I know in West Tennessee there are Obion and Dyer counties are being very proactive right now in selling themselves and setting up sites for the future industry they hope to lure with the coming of I-69. Hopefully in the other states there are similar states being as proactive in preparing for the opportunities they will gain, and that counties won't fall into the mindset that so many do that industry will just come to them whent he corridor is built without them having to be proactive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It certainly won't hurt, especially because it will be going through sections of Arkansas that could use any economic boost they can get. On a side note, every once in a while I still hear a little about I-49 basically replacing what is Hwy 71 through western Arkansas. But I don't think it's official and might not happen till a while into the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They've got the section here in the Ozarks done of course. It's what is now I-540. I'm not sure how easy it will be to go through the Ouachitas Especially since they are east-west mountains. I guess I've heard about it because it affects my area more. I'm pretty sure nothing is official. I believe it's just something they're trying to push. I wish Missouri would get on the ball and decide what they're going to do with their section of Hwy 71. We've trying to build a bypass around Bella Vista. They've even talked of possibly making it a toll road. Something not seen here in Arkansas, but has worked pretty well over in Oklahoma. But nothing can be finalized because Missouri is dragging their feet. No use building something that simply deadends at the Missouri border.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I 69 will be a North-South route from Port Huron, MI, (adjacent to the Canadian border) to Brownsville, TX. 

na.gif

Ever since the NAFTA trade agreements there have been heavy commutes from Canada to Mexico and vice versa.  Surprisingly, the route is most traveled from Detroit to Laredo, TX, (adjacent to the Mexican border).  The most traveled route passed through I-40 (Little Rock to Memphis) and I-30 (Little Rock to Texarkana). 

I-530 from Pine Bluff will be extended to Warren, AR, where  I-69 will pass. 

According to the official steering committee site (http://www.nationali69.org/3_documents.jsp), the goals for the project are:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's an interesting point. But I still think there is a high potential because there are so many small cities close to each other, combined with a high unemployment rate. Granted, they're not going to attract any high tech companies. I can think of Warren, Monticello, McGehee, Dumas, and a plethora of other itty bitty towns within an hour of each other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ I would agree. I would think a regional level industrial park that could pull in workers from the surrounding area could draw in plants. Kentucky has done this outside of Mayfield near where I-69 is coming through in Western KY in hopes of landing a big manufacturing plant (auto is what they at one time wanted) or a host of smaller plants. Western KY though has a large skilled pool ready for use do to many major plant closings over the last decade (same goes for West TN), I'm don't how skilled the labor is in the Arkansas Delta, so that would be a factor. However, if the labor is cheap companies are more than willing to train.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't really know how skilled workers are either. It IS the most rejected region of the state, or country for that matter. Then again, skilled workers aren't really needed for manafacturing plants. I'm just guessing, but I'd say there's only anywhere from 10-20% college graduation rate in these counties.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ Well when I say semi - skilled or skilled workers I'm not referring to college, rather to how many workers are skilled in such basics as machine mechanics/maintenance, welding, machine operation, etc. A strong core of folks are skilled in that manner is pretty key in drawing plants. Assembly line workers can be trained, but more advanced mechanical and fabrication aspects of manufacturing would require folks who can make build and/or make thinks work via instruction on how to do so.

I would think 10% college rates would be a good number for these counties.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see what you mean. Anyway you slice it: semiskilled or skilled, the Delta will have a bigger deficit than most places.

For colleges, you're right, 10% is good for these areas. I had no idea how low the rates were here.

I did a quick check on a few of the counties around i-69 (since I don't know the exact counties)

Cleveland County: 10%

Bradley: 11.9%

Lincoln: 7.6% (ouch)

Desha: 11.1%

Calhoun: 7.3% (ouch)

Ouachita: 12.7%

Columbia: 16.8%

Union: 14.9%

Arkansas: 12.2%

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It certainly won't hurt, especially because it will be going through sections of Arkansas that could use any economic boost they can get.  On a side note, every once in a while I still hear a little about I-49 basically replacing what is Hwy 71 through western Arkansas.  But I don't think it's official and might not happen till a while into the future.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

By the end of summer what will be I-49 will be complete from Texarkana south to within 3 miles of Louisiana. The last 3 miles is waiting on Louisiana to makes up its mind where it will run.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the end of summer what will be I-49 will be complete from Texarkana south to within 3 miles of Louisiana. The last 3 miles is waiting on Louisiana to makes up its mind where it will run.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yeah I had heard they are working on a section down around Texarkana. I'm just curious when they'll try to tackle the Ouachita Mountains.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I had heard they are working on a section down around Texarkana.  I'm just curious when they'll try to tackle the Ouachita Mountains.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

When? ...or if? Is it pretty much finalized already, or is it speculation?

The Ouachitas would be a problem. They'd have to put a major interstate straight through a National Forest, and all the tallest Ouachitas are right by Mena.

It would definitely be scenic!

Anyhoo, I'm heading to sleep.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's still mainly speculation. I think Arkansas is hoping if they build some of it now maybe there's a better chance for it to happen. Yeah I really have to go get ready for work. I'll check back afterwards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For colleges, you're right, 10% is good for these areas. I had no idea how low the rates were here.

I did a quick check on a few of the counties around i-69 (since I don't know the exact counties)

Cleveland County: 10%

Bradley: 11.9%

Lincoln: 7.6% (ouch)

Desha: 11.1%

Calhoun: 7.3% (ouch)

Ouachita: 12.7%

Columbia: 16.8%

Union: 14.9%

Arkansas: 12.2%

Though these may be horrible percentages, you also have to keep in mind the population figures in these areas, Calhoun county especially.

Calhoun county is the least populated (as well as least densely populated) county in Arkansas, and one of the least populated in America. There is no decent college nearby and, if my memory serves me right, there is ONLY ONE HIGH SCHOOL in the county. Those that argue that I-69 is not needed or will not help have not taken in to consideration that the road has the potential to double the population of Hampton, the county seat.

The worst of the figures above are Union and Columbia counties. Union county has a population of 45,629, meaning there are a huge number of people in the area without a college degree. While I believe blue-collar workers are the very workhorse of our economy and are often taken for granted, this is an overwhelming majority of non-college educated workers in the area, which is usually not good for the local economy and growth.

As for Columbia county, this makes no sense. Magnolia is a very nice town which has potential. Why are there so few people graduating when THERE IS A DECENT FOUR-YEAR COLLEGE (SAU) 15 MINUTES FROM THEIR HOUSE?!! This area (which is mostly the Timberlands, not the Delta) needs this Interstate very, very, very badly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also think that part of the problem is the fact that there are people going to college and so forth but they aren't returning. Honestly there's nothing in much of the state to bring college students back. Many either go to college out of state and don't come back or they do go to college in-state and then leave the state to get a job. Now I'm sure there are some people staying and I do think it's better than what it's been in the past. But I really only see central Arkansas and northwest Arkansas being able to keep many college graduates around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congress passed a bill on Friday that would give AR $2.3 billion over the next five years for roads. $75 million is slated for the I-69 project! Maybe things will begin to roll with this hunk of fed money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congress passed a bill on Friday that would give AR $2.3 billion over the next five years for roads.  $75 million is slated for the I-69 project!  Maybe things will begin to roll with this hunk of fed money.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That's right they passed the bill then I forgot to see how much money Arkansas got. I wonder what projects they're going to use it on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.