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bigboyz05

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Policy group approves plan to begin work on portions of I-49 in Arkansas

By: Greg Bischof - Texarkana Gazette - Published: 02/19/2010

During the next three years, construction crews could start laying down two sections of Interstate 49 in Texarkana, Ark.

The Texarkana Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Policy Committee agreed Thursday to accept the Arkansas Transportation Improvement 2010-2013 Plan.

The plan, which could possibly start in June, if bids can be requested, calls for about $48 million in both federal and state funds to be used to build two I-49 sections on the Arkansas side.

Of the $48 million, about $33.6 million of it would be used to build a looping arm of I-49 that would connect to the east side of present U.S. Highway 71 North and run east before curving down to connect with the northeast run of Interstate 30 headed toward the Mandeville, Ark., area.

The second section would continue this I-49 arm extension to loop south from I-30 and eventually angle west to connect with state Highway 245 just west of the Texarkana Regional Airport’s northeast side—running roughly parallel to U.S. Highway 67 North.

TMPO Transportation Planning Director Brad McCaleb said the plan also calls for slightly more than $1.9 million in federal and state funds to build a short east-west stretch of McDonald Lane later this year. This portion would start with an east side connection to Jefferson Avenue just north of I-30 and run east for a few miles.

The plan further calls for a $6.5 million replacement in 2012 of the 1930s-era U.S. Highway 71 South viaduct over downtown’s Union Pacific freight rail lines.

The TMPO Policy Committee approved this plan after it received a favorable recommendation by the TMPO’s Technical Committee, which met earlier Thursday morning.

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bigboyz,

FYI, they're moving lots of dirt at Hiwasse, Arkansas, straight west of the Bentonville/Bella Vista line and straight south of Bella Vista's west side and the Missouri line, for the future I-49.

This is a strange situation...Missouri would have had their section of the Bella Vista I-49 bypass ready by now had Arkansas not messed around in the mid 2000s. As it was, the latter couldn't get their stuff together and Missouri used the funds they had set aside for other things. There is both a sign structure and a cordoned-off section of highway clearly designed for this future bypass south of the Pineville, MO, exit. Then, the Obama administration awarded (heavily conservative Republican NW) Arkansas a grand total of $8 million (giggle) to fund the highway construction.

Despite all this, looks like either that eight mil or other monies are being used to start getting things ready at Hiwasse which is between where the bypasses two junctions into I-49 will be. The BIGGEST hurdle to I-49 is the Greenwood - Ashdown two-lane corridor through 5 counties. God Himself knows when that will be addressed. But I'd say the next biggest hurdle is the Bella Vista bypass - that is a huge traffic bottleneck along this corridor right now past multiple street crossings and businesses. And now it's at least starting to be addressed.

Edited by KJW

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Hey KJW. I haven't been to this board in ages! Anyway, thanks for the update. It's funny but Missouri is moving faster with their part than Arkansas and Arkansas is moving faster than Louisiana or at least they were. I'll be so glad when the bs is put aside and this road is finally finished.

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Posted this in the Northwest Arkansas forum and figured you'd be interested - Interstate signs are going up in McDonald and Newton Counties in Missouri along what's currently only known as U.S. 71. The interstate quality highway begins about a mile south of Pineville (McDonald county seat) and goes all the way up to Interstate 44 at Joplin (the

). The only thing missing so far in these signs is the actual Interstate number.

Tornadic tragedy aside - I-49, no matter what it's called up there for the present, is about to get a little longer.

(EDIT: This highway is going to be I-49 from Pineville all the way to Grandview, MO (south Kansas City suburb, that's an Interstate junction)...BY THE END OF THIS YEAR! Also, CONGRATULATIONS to Texarkana - looks like Texas has nearly 300 miles in fourteen counties (not counting Harris) that can be designated I-69 RIGHT NOW. I know there's a ways to go on this and also that Louisiana's got to get moving on their Caddo Parish finishing of I-49, but you all are poised to become a 3-Interstate-junction-city in the future. EDIT#3 - a couple of weeks ago, Louisiana has found more money to fund I-49 starting from I-220 starting next year...sounds sloooow, but you've heard the old circus superstition about things (usually deaths) happening in "3s". Wow. Talk about an issue that's suddenly back on the table in a big way...)

Edited by KJW

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The urban sections of future I-49 in the Texarkana area should be complete by the end of the year and great progress has been made on I-49 between Shreveport and the Louisiana/Arkansas border. Most of it or the section between the border and just north of Shreveport should be open to traffic sometime in 2013. I agree there's no telling when the section between Ashdown and Greenwood will be constructed.The next section in our area to be built will be from north of Texarkana to Ashdown.

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The ribbon cutting to mark the completion of i-49 between Texarkana and Shreveport will be held today.

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I'm so happy the day has finally arrived! Now we just need to get cracking on the section between Texarkana and Ft. Smith.

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