The Arkansas Department of Transportation (Department), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), is progressing to the next phase of project development for the construction of Interstate 49 (I-49) from Highway (Hwy.) 22 in Sebastian County to I-40 in Crawford County, a length of approximately 13.6 miles.
This section was originally part of a larger corridor environmental study known as the “U.S. 71 Relocation.” This study extended from Highway 70 in DeQueen, Arkansas to I-40 near Alma, Arkansas, encompassing approximately 125 miles. The relocation of U.S. 71 in Arkansas is part of Congressionally-designated High Priority Corridor 1, running from Shreveport, Louisiana to Kansas City, Missouri. A FEIS was prepared, and a Record of Decision was issued in December 1997 that approved the general alignment of a new location, four-lane highway in western Arkansas.
The next phase of project development will include completing and obtaining agency approvals for the re-evaluation of the 1997 FEIS, preparing required agency construction permits, and developing final design and construction plans for a non-tolled facility from Hwy. 22 to I-40, as shown in the project map located below under “links”. Due to funding constraints, a phased construction approach may be used where two of the ultimate four lanes of the facility may be constructed in the first phase. Final determination of this phased construction approach will be determined during this next phase of project development.
The Department developed a more detailed preliminary roadway schematic design, and conducted public involvement meetings in 2018. An Interstate 49 Alternative Delivery Study was developed which evaluated alternative project delivery methods and toll feasibility for the project, but ultimately determined that a public-private partnership based on tolling this section is not a viable option. The study was adopted by the Arkansas State Highway Commission during their November 14, 2018 meeting. Outreach, including public involvement meetings and agency coordination, will be part of the ongoing activities.
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Previous Planning Activities
April 26, 2018:
2001 – Preliminary Toll Feasibility Assessments for:
Arkansas Segmentation Projects
Arkansas Congressionally Designated High Priority Corridors
Arkansas Major Corridor Projects