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Author Topic: Passing lanes for US-71 in Scott and Polk counties  (Read 1105 times)

MikieTimT

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Passing lanes for US-71 in Scott and Polk counties
« on: January 08, 2021, 09:03:25 PM »

https://vpiph01-040787-mena-y-city-passing-lanes-hwy-71-ardot.hub.arcgis.com/

This project seems to me to be a stopgap for what really needs to happen in this area since it will ultimately be supplanted by I-49.  I basically recommended scrapping this proposal and replacing it with Arkansas' second and likely longest set of tunnels.  Since we can't build anything big all at once around here, it's my proposal that they should built the first set of 2 sets of tunnels for the initial Super-2 through the ridges that force that horrendous S curve that US-71 has to sweep around south of Y City, and when the funds come around to complete I-49 and we're all retired and too old to drive, the other set of bores could be completed to house the other carriageway.  This project just seems to be wasting funds that should be used to improve the routing of I-49 through here.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Passing lanes for US-71 in Scott and Polk counties
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2021, 10:19:26 PM »

Tunnels are something the United States doesn't know how to do anymore without breaking the bank. And not just breaking the bank, but blowing it up with a nuclear bomb. This is despite all the advances that have been made in tunnel boring technology. I guess none of those advances are making the process less expensive, even if they're making the process possibly more efficient.

Meanwhile other countries, such as China and Japan, are building road and rail tunnels without much problem. I lived in Japan for 3 years when I was a kid (on a Marine Corps base). There were road and rail tunnels all over the place, through mountainsides and under waterways.

In the case of I-49 between Mena, Waldron and Mansfield, I don't know how much would be gained by spending likely tens of billions of dollars on two different sets of tunnels as a short cut through two different mountains. A tunnel under Wolf Pinnacle, between Mena and Y City, might cut about 5 miles off the drive. It's about the same different going under East Poteau Mountain between Waldron and Mansfield. Maybe if the federal government was spear-heading the project (and providing nearly all the funding) the tunnel projects would be feasible. Otherwise it looks more like drivers will end up having to endure about 15 or so more minutes of drive time on a more curvy route.

I think those two mountain sections of I-49 will be among the last stretches of the highway that will be built. The most sensible thing would be building Super-2 bypasses for Mansfield, Waldron, Mena, DeQueen and Ashdown just to acquire the necessary ROW and upgrade them to freeways later. Then stitch together the gaps in between. Leave the mountain sections for last. Who knows? There might be some monumental break-through in tunnel building and highway engineering technology to make ambitious tunnel projects in the US possible again.
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In_Correct

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Re: Passing lanes for US-71 in Scott and Polk counties
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2021, 05:54:30 AM »

Toll Them.
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bwana39

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Re: Passing lanes for US-71 in Scott and Polk counties
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2021, 02:05:06 PM »

Toll Them.

Tolls are constitutionally disallowed in Arkansas.

As to the subject of the thread, US-71 will still need the passing lanes AFTER I-49 is built. I-49 will be built on a greenfield even if it is immediately adjacent to US-71 (it probably will not be). So most likely, US-71 will still be a stand-alone route south of Fort Smith.  Add to that, I-49 is AT least a decade away if not 20 years.

The tunnels are a great idea but I think cost prohibitive.  Routing through Oklahoma is a great idea but not one that will likely happen.  Twisting through the mountains is the least desirable option, but is probably the most affordable all-Arkansas route solution.
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bwana39

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Re: Passing lanes for US-71 in Scott and Polk counties
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2021, 02:35:28 PM »

Tunnels are something the United States doesn't know how to do anymore without breaking the bank. And not just breaking the bank, but blowing it up with a nuclear bomb. This is despite all the advances that have been made in tunnel boring technology. I guess none of those advances are making the process less expensive, even if they're making the process possibly more efficient.

Meanwhile other countries, such as China and Japan, are building road and rail tunnels without much problem. I lived in Japan for 3 years when I was a kid (on a Marine Corps base). There were road and rail tunnels all over the place, through mountainsides and under waterways.

In the case of I-49 between Mena, Waldron and Mansfield, I don't know how much would be gained by spending likely tens of billions of dollars on two different sets of tunnels as a short cut through two different mountains. A tunnel under Wolf Pinnacle, between Mena and Y City, might cut about 5 miles off the drive. It's about the same different going under East Poteau Mountain between Waldron and Mansfield. Maybe if the federal government was spear-heading the project (and providing nearly all the funding) the tunnel projects would be feasible. Otherwise it looks more like drivers will end up having to endure about 15 or so more minutes of drive time on a more curvy route.[/quote ]

To me, it isn't the miles, it is the grade. This is what makes the Oklahoma routing seemingly better.

Quote
I think those two mountain sections of I-49 will be among the last stretches of the highway that will be built. The most sensible thing would be building Super-2 bypasses for Mansfield, Waldron, Mena, DeQueen and Ashdown just to acquire the necessary ROW and upgrade them to freeways later. Then stitch together the gaps in between. Leave the mountain sections for last. Who knows? There might be some monumental break-through in tunnel building and highway engineering technology to make ambitious tunnel projects in the US possible again.

Building the bypass around Ashdown before the freeway itself is not really feasible with the proposed routing.  Dequeen should work fairly well and be short it could probably fit with the future freeway. Mena a loop is not a great fit. 71 comes in from the southwest and the freeway should come in to the southeast of town. From South of Mena to 71and AR-98 on the northeast side of town would work, but again, it has no real consequence to the eventual freeway. US-71 through Waldron IS a bypass. See where that led.

The way Arkansas builds freeways, on this route, there is little to no pre-building the interstate route that can significantly shorten the route. Arkansas may be using the US-71 corridor, but it is like how Texas used the US-80 corridor between Terrell and Waskom for I-20. At places the freeway and the parallel route are 20 miles apart.
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MikieTimT

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Re: Passing lanes for US-71 in Scott and Polk counties
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2021, 06:31:21 PM »

Arkansas already has a pair of tunnels on I-49 between the Winslow and Chester exits, so it has been done here, although not this century.  The current routing of Future I-49 between Y-City and Mena is using the same Foran Gap that US-71 uses, so they'll have to just have to do a Jersey barrier and put all of the carriageways together like they did north of the current set of tunnels to just past the Winslow exit.  There's not room for I-49 and US-71 to exist as separate routes where US-270 multiplexes in without almost as much rock removal as a new set of tunnels would require, but maybe I've just been reading the maps wrong all this time.
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Gordon

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Re: Passing lanes for US-71 in Scott and Polk counties
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2021, 10:47:27 PM »

At a future map of  i-49 the passing lanes in  Polk county show to be  the same path as Hwy 71. I think they need to do the passing  lanes on the I-49 ,Hwy 71 route so it would save money for future I-49 construction.
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bwana39

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Re: Passing lanes for US-71 in Scott and Polk counties
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2021, 08:27:48 AM »

At a future map of  i-49 the passing lanes in  Polk county show to be  the same path as Hwy 71. I think they need to do the passing  lanes on the I-49 ,Hwy 71 route so it would save money for future I-49 construction.


If I-49 is built on the same path, I would agree.  It almost surely isn't  going to be. None of the existing routing either south of the Red River or North of I-40 is. Some of the NWA segments were moved to  new routings and signed as US-71 years ago. There is still a separate US-71 or US-71 Business along virtually the entire route.  The only exception I see to this is POSSIBLY through the mountains, and that is possible, not probable.

It will probably be an adjacent route. Upgrades to the current roadways in situ is just that upgrades as a stop-gap, not building up toward anything.

I think that I-49 through here is a significantly long-term project.  I am sixty and it MIGHT get built in my lifetime. MAYBE
« Last Edit: January 14, 2021, 12:02:09 AM by bwana39 »
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