The state highway department is preparing for major construction in the western part of Arkansas, developing Interstate 49, that will run from New Orleans to Kansas City.
A few dozen other new highway projects are also part of the Connecting Arkansas program, which seeks to revitalize 31 highways around the state and is funded with a 10-year, half- cent sales tax that was approved by voters.
Danny Straessle, spokesman with the Arkansas Highway Commission, said, “With 58 percent of the votes, stated in 2012, that good roads are important to their communities and to the state, economic development and also connectivity and mobility throughout the state.”
Interstate 49 will add stretches of roadway from southwest Arkansas, through Texarkana, Mena, and Greenwood, then connecting with the existing I-540 which provides a route from the Fort Smith area to Fayetteville-Rogers-Bentonville.
The widening of I-40 between Conway and Little Rock and I-630 running through Little Rock is another important construction effort.
“The immediate impact is construction zones and orange barrels and, in some cases, folks need to find a different route to get from one point to another,” Straessle said.
“But, it’s only temporary and everyone should keep their eye on the future as once we’re finished with the program, we will have a great highway system in the state of Arkansas.”