Another link in the planned six-state I-49 has been completed with five miles of roadway opening between the Arkansas and Missouri border.
The project’s completion leaves a 290-mile interstate route from Kansas City, Missouri, to Fort Smith, Arkansas. The last five miles of the connector opened October 1.
The I-49 and I-29 corridor will also eventually pass through Louisiana, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota, stretching for 1,600 miles and connecting at I-29 in Kansas City. Plans are to add links to New Orleans area ports.
I-29 extends from Kansas City to Winnipeg, Canada. The eventual goal is to provide an uninterrupted Interstate Trade Corridor from Canada to New Orleans and into Central and South America to the Panama Canal, according to the I-49 International Coalition.
Transportation officials in Arkansas and Missouri say they have been discussing the connector for more than 25 years. Construction has progressed in phases.
Missouri Department of TransportationThe final five miles were built between Pineville, Missouri, where construction ended in 2012, and the Arkansas state line.
The project involved building a four-lane divided highway west of Route 71. Access to the newly designated interstate section is only by interchanges. A new interchange was built at Missouri Route 90 west of Jane. Five bridges were also constructed.
The project’s estimated cost was $70.3 million.
“This high-quality roadway will help promote tourism, business investment and workforce opportunities between our two great states," said Missouri Governor Mike Parson.