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Author Topic: I-55 in Arkansas  (Read 5706 times)

Hot Rod Hootenanny

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Re: I-55 in Arkansas
« Reply #50 on: January 12, 2022, 01:23:13 PM »

I did a Streetview feature about the early, isolated section of I-57 between Mounds and Marion, Illinois. It's surprisingly interesting, with a variety of bridge types and median widths, including generous wooded stretches. It occurred to me that it must seem like a secret garden to travelers who've endured the brutal boredom of I-55 between Memphis and there.

Are there any stretches of I-55 anywhere that aren't brutally boring?  Haven't actually driven much of it, event in Arkansas other than Memphis to Turrell, but what I have driven there and in the little bits of northern Mississippi to I-269, I haven't come across anything memorial for a positive reason.

North of Memphis, the Mississippi River delta spreads west into NW Arkansas (and the Missouri bootheel), while Western Tennessee gets all the bluffs.
I-55 starts to look more geologically interesting once you get north of Cape Girardeau.
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Wayward Memphian

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Re: I-55 in Arkansas
« Reply #51 on: January 12, 2022, 02:21:20 PM »

Osceola got the 3 Billion Steel Plant

https://talkbusiness.net/2022/01/u-s-steel-to-locate-3-billion-steel-mill-in-northeast-arkansas/

You might not see it from the Interstate but that area is Steel Central these days.
Somebody mentioned the problem that these Mississippi County steel mills are hiring people from Little Rock, Memphis and farther who are willing to commute for that much pay while leaving the locals out in the cold.

I seriously doubt they are explicitly leaving out qualified locals looking for work, but part of running any business is finding the most qualified workforce that can be had for as low a cost as possible.  I'm sure there are several willing to commute for work from Memphis and Jonesboro, but Little Rock would make for a rather long commute (3 hrs. each way) that should make some consider relocating to Jonesboro or closer if they don't mind rural or small town living.  There's only going to be so many under or unemployed in Mississippi County and the surrounding counties that would apply, especially given that there are other plants in the area competing for the same workforce.  I'm sure they'll also pull in some commuting in from KY, TN, and MO as well.

Correctomundo.

About half the local population knows nothin but generational poverty and they ain't changing being asses any time soon. Typically these mills run 4 days on 4 days off with plenty of additional work on those off days if you want it. Shifts are 12 hours. Pay can be fantastic when figuring in production bonuses. It is not unheard of a check basically average $50 bucks an hour.  But... it's a steel mill.  There are plenty of folks that I know that clear over 100k at Nucor.
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MikieTimT

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Re: I-55 in Arkansas
« Reply #52 on: January 13, 2022, 10:12:56 AM »

They're fixing to need to do some work on an interchange or 2 given the additional truck traffic coming off I-55 to haul steel products out for the more local customers.  I'm sure that they'll do the bulk hauling using barge and rail for iron ore/scrap for inputs and finished products, which is why they chose the location in addition to the incentives from Arkansas.  A new northern loop bridge connecting TN-385/I-269 to I-55 around Turrell would offload I-40 East and I-22 traffic from having to go through Memphis over the old bridges.
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Tomahawkin

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Re: I-55 in Arkansas
« Reply #53 on: January 13, 2022, 11:30:58 AM »

That northern loop is a pipedream, giving the more pressing needs to finish IH-49 and IH-57 respectively. I do agree That another Mississippi River Bridge using that route is much needed given the state of the 2 antiquated bridges in West Memphis currently in use...
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Road Hog

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Re: I-55 in Arkansas
« Reply #54 on: January 13, 2022, 11:29:49 PM »

For 50 bucks an hour I'd sleep in my car 3 nights a week and drive 5 hours home for a 3-day weekend. That amount of pay expands the worker pool greatly.
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MikieTimT

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Re: I-55 in Arkansas
« Reply #55 on: January 14, 2022, 09:22:41 AM »

For 50 bucks an hour I'd sleep in my car 3 nights a week and drive 5 hours home for a 3-day weekend. That amount of pay expands the worker pool greatly.

If Jonesboro or smaller communities aren't appealing for amenities, or because of need to stay put due to proximity to family, I'm sure there'll be some that do just that.  Seems like there'd be some demand for extended stay hotel facilities in the area that would only amount to half a day's wages for an entire week as well that come complete with kitchens.
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MikieTimT

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Re: I-55 in Arkansas
« Reply #56 on: March 15, 2022, 04:10:31 PM »

Looks like they are investing in trying to get folks to put down roots in the area as apparently these big steel plants draw from anywhere between Tulsa and Nashville for 4 day stints, then they go back to their families.  Doesn't seem like it's very conducive to family life to do 4 on and 4 off with that much distance in between.  The county is doing fantastically drawing in industry as they just landed another  manufacturer  a few weeks ago that dovetails with the steel industry that's blossoming.  Now they just need to get folks to move in, and amenities and schools should be the next big push, but they have to get the people coming first for that to happen.

Mississippi County officials push ‘Work Here, Live Here’ plan
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edwaleni

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Re: I-55 in Arkansas
« Reply #57 on: March 19, 2022, 11:31:26 PM »

I noticed some news reports around the US that people who have to drive extensively to work are having to quit. The gas dollars required are making it uneconomic.

Be interesting to see if Arkansas commuters for blue collar jobs (like in steel mills) will follow suit.

I remember some California white collar commuters in the Bay Area complaining about real estate prices forcing them to drive from yet farther distances.

When I suggested that perhaps they should move closer to their jobs, they got all riled up about how they couldn't afford it.

So I asked what they preferred more, a suburban lifestyle, an urban lifestyle or more time with their family.

They all wanted the urban high paying income, but the low cost of exurban housing and were willing to absorb the cost and time commitment to drive in.

Then complained about not having enough time for their family.

So I suggested they get a less paying job closer to where they live so they would have more time with their family and reduce their commuting expenses and time commitment.

They got all angry and said there was no way they would give up any salary they "deserve".

So how does $4.30 gas change Arkansas' distance labor force?

Will they move to where the work is? Can they afford to live where the work is, or is it just economic to absorb the gas prices temporarily?
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-55 in Arkansas
« Reply #58 on: March 20, 2022, 11:42:10 AM »

In the case of the extreme living costs of the Bay Area, more and more workers are just choosing the leave the region entirely and go to other parts of the US where there is a more affordable balance of urban/suburban living costs in relation to pay.

Texas has had a major advantage in that area over California for the past 30+ years. So it's no wonder there has been virus-level growth sustained in metros like Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and the merging Austin-San Antonio region. Of course living costs are starting to get out of hand in those places.

I'm actually kind of surprised Oklahoma City isn't totally blowing up now with growth. Housing prices in that metro are dirt cheap compared to coastal metros. Our state has some backward policies and ideologies regarding business and public education that might turn off some transplants from California or New York looking for new places to live.

High gasoline prices are putting a terrible squeeze on service related businesses everywhere. There has already been a serious worker shortage for those low wage jobs. The problem is housing prices and other living costs often make the wages from those jobs non-survivable. Not unless multiple workers were willing to pile into the same apartment together. The high gasoline prices worsen that imbalance. Many of these workers are forced to drive to their jobs. Public transit doesn't run everywhere. And it doesn't offer 24/7 service in many smaller cites (our bus service in Lawton only runs on weekdays during the day).

Over the long term this economic imbalance is going to create a lot of problems. Our worker shortage now will be nothing compared to what we could be seeing 20 years from now when the beginnings of our nation's birth rate downturn start yielding consequences. I think the trend will be a whole lot of single, child-less adults living smaller while living closer to city centers. A bunch of people with McMansions out in the suburbs will have giant size homes they'll be unable to sell.
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