johnnydr87

I-49 One Step Closer to Being Realized

454 posts in this topic

I'm clueless on what is going on. I believe the developers have closed on the purchase, but there is no market now for that type of large scale retail development in Barling. Maybe in 5-10 years?

 

 

Comreguy, look at this, from Arkansas Business, just published 12 hours ago from when I'm posting this!!:

 

http://www.arkansasbusiness.com/article/94253/chaffee-crossing-in-fort-smith-continues-to-attract-projects?page=2

 

 

Inside the boundaries of Chaffee Crossing — named for Fort Chaffee, the military base that formerly occupied the land — is a mix of residential, commercial, recreational, historical and industrial projects. This has not been a slow year for Owen or anybody affiliated with the Crossing, which is located inside both Fort Smith and Barling with residents who are assigned to either the Greenwood or Fort Smith school districts. Consider:

  • Old Dominion Freight Line added a 65-bay terminal earlier this year;
  • Umarex USA and Walther Arms invested $7 million in an expansion of their factory inside Chaffee Crossing;
  • Phoenix Metals is relocating here from Russellville;
  • The Fort Smith School District has designated land within the area as the location of its next high school;
  • First Baptist Church, a fixture in downtown Fort Smith, has plans to build a new campus at Chaffee Crossing; and
  • A 70-store mall is slated for 90 acres of property inside the Barling city limits.

 

and;

 

 

By the end of the year a total of six residential developments will be part of the district, which Owen estimates has generated more than $800 million in capital investments since the FCRA was set up in 1999.

 
"I'm not bashful when I say this: We are the economic engine in western Arkansas," Owen said. "Everything is happening here. It's not just one thing. This has everything that a community or economic developer dreams about. If you were going to come in here with a blank slate and be an economic community developer, this is a dream come true."
 
A year ago Chaffee Crossing was recognized as the Association of Defense Communities Base Redevelopment Project of the Year. Growth hasn't slowed since then, and the only thing limiting additional industrial expansion is the limited amount of land left zoned for that use.

 

and;

 

 

Even with all the amenities, Walker said, some in town seem skeptical that Chaffee Crossing will be good for the city. There is some concern, he said, that it will hurt other parts of town.

 
“I think there are a lot of people in my line of work and my age that see the opportunities out here,” Walker said. “Fort Smith will be unrecognizable in five years and we’re excited about it. Unfortunately, there are naysayers and people who are maybe a little bit jealous of the Chaffee Crossing area. What they don’t understand is this is a plus for all of Fort Smith from the east side to downtown and everywhere else.

 

and;

 

 

All of the success that has happened at Chaffee Crossing has been achieved without perhaps the largest piece of the puzzle. Construction is continuing on Interstate 49, which will one day connect the Gulf Coast near New Orleans to the Canadian border. It will include a six-mile stretch that runs through Chaffee Crossing and connect Highway 59 from Van Buren to U.S. 71 south of Fort Smith.

 
It’s near the eventual intersection of Highway 59 and I-49 that the mall is planned. Owen said there will be 12 corners of prime real estate available after the interstate work is complete. Those, Owen said, will be some of the most valuable land in Chaffee Crossing thanks to an estimated 35,000 vehicles per day that will pass through the development district.
   
“Some people still don’t believe it’s going to happen,” Owen said of the I-49 project, set for local completion in mid-2014. “They’re convinced it’s not going to happen. There are some of those people around, some hesitancy until they see pavement or until they see traffic. But when that happens, those 12 corners are going to sell and that is going to be the icing on top of the cake as far as I’m concerned.

 

Anyone out there who still thinks I-49 (and I-69-Texas side, with I-69 heading east big for southeast Arkansas) isn't going to be a big deal for NWA/FSM?  (Or maybe I should say FSM/NWA?)

 

Marketing slogan for NWA/Fort Smith:

 

"NWA/Fort Smith:

 

Walmart, Baldor, Tyson, ABF, J.B. Hunt, Golden Living, the U of A and their friends got us to this point...I-49 will drive us the rest of the way there."

Edited by KJW

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I don't see this as being THE BIG DEAL for most of this area. I don't mean to minimize it, but it isn't rocket surgery to note that comparing a highway project to Walmart, etc., impact on the region is misapplied.

Maybe saying I-49 will do what 540 did to this region years ago. Or how XNA helped the region.

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UrbanArkie, it's clearly a big deal to FSM (understandable since they'll become a major crossroads).  Nothing could replace what the corporate presence in either NWA or Fort Smith has been...that's why I said "(they) got us to this point" above.

 

But, again, find an interstate map of the U.S.  The better ones are in your Rand McNally atlas right now than the Web.  It's going to be nothing short of amazing to see what this corridor (the most direct to the gulf for many, unobstructed by major traffic-clogging cities like D/FW or Oklahoma City, that is, until Shreveport/Texarkana and/or FSM/NWA get too big  :ermm:  ) opens up for so many people, and regions, and, frankly, for NWA/FSM.

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Comreguy, look at this, from Arkansas Business, just published 12 hours ago from when I'm posting this!!:

 

http://www.arkansasbusiness.com/article/94253/chaffee-crossing-in-fort-smith-continues-to-attract-projects?page=2

 

 

and;

 

 

and;

 

 

and;

 

 

Anyone out there who still thinks I-49 (and I-69-Texas side, with I-69 heading east big for southeast Arkansas) isn't going to be a big deal for NWA/FSM?  (Or maybe I should say FSM/NWA?)

 

Marketing slogan for NWA/Fort Smith:

 

"NWA/Fort Smith:

 

Walmart, Baldor, Tyson, ABF, J.B. Hunt, Golden Living, the U of A and their friends got us to this point...I-49 will drive us the rest of the way there."

Saw the article prior to my posting. I'm a big believer in the I-49 corridor and look forward to all it brings. I just can't put credence into a retail development project that has yet to name an anchor or approach ANY tenants with plans. The retail world is a very small community and there is literally no one that has any idea what the project is. While I'd love for more development to occur, I think the "mall" is more smoke than it is substance.

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Comreguy, again...this whole thing is bizarre, or would be were there not other evidence such as the PowerPoint map from the Texas Highway and Transportation Department...looking at the current American Interstate map, it's honestly surprising that this wasn't done years ago...as if no one saw that Texas was going to be the nation's second biggest state in terms of population.  

 

Otherwise, would our old Razorback Dick Trammell and his ATHD boys put their names on plaques over bridges that, if this highway isn't built, will seem like monuments to stupidity?  Right now, for example, the Massard Road bridge crosses over to a dead end on the east.  Like I'd said elsewhere, I've never seen speculation like this before in my life.

 

Also, don't misinterpret my lack of faith in the mall as a statement against I-49. I know that corridor will be a major driver of commerce to Fort Smith and don't think they are spending money and time developing portions of it without knowing it will be fully built.

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Also, don't misinterpret my lack of faith in the mall as a statement against I-49. I know that corridor will be a major driver of commerce to Fort Smith and don't think they are spending money and time developing portions of it without knowing it will be fully built.

 

No misinterpretation taken, comreguy.  (Actually, I have less faith that I-49's FSM/TXK segment will be built than I do that the aforementioned shopping mall will be. And I think with the pincers of I-49 closing in on Fort Smith/west Arkansas with the construction that will be complete by 2016's end, it will all depend on what decisions our state makes.  And what decisions we're ALLOWED to make.)

 

What's fascinating are the comments by that developer above (and developers have to say things like this, but usually not this brash): "Fort Smith will be unrecognizable in 5 years."  Had I not seen what they're doing there I might question it, but indeed, west Fort Smith/Barling will be unrecognizable if this keeps up.

 

Here's the weird thing: back on the NWA Population growth thread someone posted a link predicting that NWA will, with current growth, have 1 million people in the next few decades.  If, as the ADG cited a study of (which these Chaffee Crossing guys are trying to bear out) FSM grows nearly as big as NWA via a completed I-49, that's going to be like having Tulsa 40 miles down the road and over the hill from Oklahoma City, all in the Natural State.

 

And that's amazing, and sobering, to contemplate.

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More I-49 Fort Smith area news, with a couple of interesting tidbits:

 

1.  KFSM TV report on I-49 progress committee meeting with reps from MO, AR and LA, all at the new AHTD District HQ in Fort Smith.  As you can see from it, I-49 pavement is being poured there.  Dig the guy in the I-49 tie!

 

http://5newsonline.com/2013/08/29/highway-officials-discuss-ways-to-speed-up-i-49-corridor/

 

2.  But here's where it gets really interesting in the City Wire report on the same meeting:

 

 

(Dan) Salisbury (of the Missouri DOT) said his state had made progress to take the interstate as far as they had, though funding to complete the state's I-49 corridor in a section known as the Bella Vista Bypass was not currently in place.

 
"And today, we have the plans done. They've been done for many years. We would have to go in and refresh those plans, but that would be a relatively minor task. We purchased the land but we have one challenge," he said. "Considering all the work we did north of there, we no longer have enough money to complete that. So at this time, we can't commit to a schedule in Missouri to do that."
 
The shortfall in funding amounts to about $25 million, though he said Missouri transportation officials were working to find a funding source to complete the state's portion of the project.

 

plus;

 

 

Gard Wayt, the Shreveport, La.-based executive director of the I-49 International Coalition, said having officials like Whitaker and others from the city and county level on up to the federal level participate in today's meeting was designed to get all sides thinking and working together to figure out how to finish I-49 at an accelerated rate, a rate at which the interstate could be done in less than a decade.
 

 

"If I were going to be safe, I'd say (the Arkansas portion would be complete in) 10 years," Wayt said. "But what we're trying to do is cut that in half."

 

Did he just insinuate that they're trying to find ways to build the (entire!) Arkansas portion in half a decade?!?!  I know these directors need to be optimists, but...  (Nonetheless, with the interest from states like Texas, mentioned multiple times on this thread, the focus on this will get narrower and stronger as time goes by, IMO, assuming America is still viable as a nation during that time.)

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For those that can't make it out to see the progress being made on the BV Bypass, here's a picture looking south from Rocky Dell Hollow Road, just west of Bella Vista taken about 2 weeks ago. 
 

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For those that can't make it out to see the progress being made on the BV Bypass, here's a picture looking south from Rocky Dell Hollow Road, just west of Bella Vista taken about 2 weeks ago. 

 

 

Good work, JimAR!

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From the AHTD to a poster on another board...I-49 really IS coming to NWA and FSM (and TXK).  Also, according to the City Wire, rehabbing of the current Interstate bridge east of Fort Smith is being delayed because officials are working instead to fund the new bridge that would be used for future I-49, so at least they're thinking about this route.

 

According to the poster, we will know whether I-49's designation is approved on October 17th, next month!:

 

http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=3324.msg249672#msg249672

 

http://route.transportation.org/Pages/default.aspx
 

Quote

Next Meeting of the Special Committee on US Route Number will meet in Denver, CO, October 17, 2013 - Applications due no later than September 9, 2013

Edited by KJW
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An individual I know who follows these matters very closely is saying that the AASTHO meeting today is having decisions made on highway re-naming, and that we might know as early as tomorrow, but more likely in a few days whether I-540 will be renamed.

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Johnnydr87, you started this thread.  Are you anywhere around still?  If someone here knows him, tell him:

 

http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=3324.msg254630#msg254630

 

 

 

I just got a verbal confirmation from AHTD that they were "surprised", but they got "everything they asked for" regarding I-49.

No word on when the first shield will go up.  bigass.gif

edit
 

Dig the man with the 

I-49 necktie

 toward the report's end!

 

Maybe it's time for some folks on the Forum to get a new tie!:

 

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So I guess we will start seeing the changes sometime over the next year or so?

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strmchsr77, hope so.  If this is happening as this man says, we'll know more fairly soon, and they've been fairly rapid about erecting Interstate signs for newly-designated routes.

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http://www.nwaonline.com/news/2013/oct/27/i-49-designation-clears-roadblock-20131027/  (Story from today: "I-49 designation clears roadblock, Federal approval expected", ArDemGaz paywall):

 

 

 

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has gotten initial approval to designate two sections of highway as Interstate 49 ....
The approved sections include 73 miles of Interstate 540 from Alma north to Bella Vista and 42 miles of Arkansas 549 from Texarkana south to the Louisiana state line, said Randy Ort, a spokesmanfor the Highway Department.
The approval came from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials at an Oct. 18 meeting in Denver ....
But final approval must come from the Federal Highway Administration, which received the state’s applicationarrow-10x10.png last month.
“They have the information,” said Ort. “We’re just waiting to hear back from them. We don’t foresee any problems.”
Scott Bennett, director of the Arkansas Highway Department, said he’d like to have final approval by Christmas, but that may be too optimistic.
Doug Hecox, a spokesman for the Federal Highway Administration, said Christmas is possible.
“I think that sounds like a very reasonable goal,” he said.

“The proposal from the state is still being reviewed, so we don’t have any way to ballpark how long it’ll take.”
After the I-49 designation is approved on the federal level, it will take a while longer before the new signs go up and the old ones come down, Ort said. The process requires educating the public, making new signs and installing them, he said.
Besides the I-49 signs, the applicationarrow-10x10.png the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials approved included “future I-49 signs” for two sections that are still under construction.
Those segments are the 14-mile Bella Vista bypass and a 6-mile section of U.S. 71 on the south side of Fort Smith to Arkansas 22 at Barling.

The section near Fort Smith is scheduled to be completedarrow-10x10.png in June.
A 5-mile section from Doddridge to the Louisiana state line is to be done in May. Ort said it would likely be completedarrow-10x10.png before the Highway Department is ready to put I-49 signs up along the route, so it has been approved for the I-49 signs.
“It just doesn’t make sense to have to keep renumbering things when it’s clear it’s part of the interstate system,” said Bennett, referring to Arkansas 549 south of Texarkana.

 

 

http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=3324.msg255815#msg255815

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I-49 now officially open between Shreveport and Gilliam, LA (which leaves 10 miles from where I-49 now ends near Fouke, AR and Gilliam under construction, officially).

 

Unofficially, rumors are that north of Gilliam I-49 is open to local traffic only to near Ida (right at the LA/AR state line), leaving 4 miles of interstate still u.c.  between Texarkana, AR/TX and (for all intents and purposes, though not all I-49) Baton Rouge/New Orleans.

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an interstate roundabout??? imagine the congestion...

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an interstate roundabout??? imagine the congestion...

 

I'm wit' ya.  Imagine the semis.  This HAS to be developed further, I should think.

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Arkansas Highway and Traffic Department VIMEO video of the future Bella Vista bypass/I-49 /Walton Blvd.(?) interchange...and it's kinda weird looking.  Hopefully it would work well if lighting and signage are adequate, which we're counting on.  :offtopic:  :ermm:

To me at least, this seems a bit like the set up for the roundabout in Fayetteville near Washington Regional and the Fulbright Expressway.  The biggest difference is that you have one more entree/exit point because both side of the interstate can access it.  Where as in Fayetteville only one side of the Fulbright Expressway can access it.  Some people still seem a bit put off by roundabouts.  Maybe some people will never accept them because they simply didn't grow up with them and refuse to accept change.  I use the one in Fayetteville on a regular basis and personally think it's great and a big time saver.  I admit you still occasionally get someone who seems utterly confused on what to do that slows things down.  But waiting time has dropped dramatically since it was a four way stop.  I believe Benton County has more roundabouts in place, but the ones I've seen so far at least, seem to have lower traffic rates compared to the one near Washington Regional in Fayetteville.  I'd be curious to see how one would do in a even higher traffic count area. 

an interstate roundabout??? imagine the congestion...

Yeah but the roundabout isn't actually on the interstate.  It's off to the side.  Over all it's rather similar to the one in Fayetteville.

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I feel like the one going north is a little strange.  Couldn't they just do a fly-over instead of making you go through two or three loops?  I'm sure this is a lot cheaper though.  Guess we'll see how it works out.

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I grew up near KC, and there are perfectly executed roundabouts all over. In all my travels, I have yet to see an at grade roundabout on a highway like the one shown.

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