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Author Topic: I-49 in Arkansas  (Read 999240 times)

MikieTimT

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3350 on: November 09, 2021, 07:55:29 AM »

Oklahoma won't pay to upgrade a US 69 that runs right through the middle of it. Why would they pay for an I-49 that goes from Arkansas to Arkansas?

Makes you wonder why Texas is doing just that, with a Red River bridge thrown in as an extra expense!
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edwaleni

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3351 on: November 09, 2021, 11:09:41 AM »

Oklahoma won't pay to upgrade a US 69 that runs right through the middle of it. Why would they pay for an I-49 that goes from Arkansas to Arkansas?

Makes you wonder why Texas is doing just that, with a Red River bridge thrown in as an extra expense!

A couple of things in that line of thought.

- Arkansas is the predecessor state (1836) over Texas (1845)
- The Red River has shifted north where the planned bridge is to be built, so technically TxDOT would only provide the connector between each state line.
- TxDOT already owns the ROW between each state line, so they are prepared to pay regardless.

Based on this ArDOT would be the lead agency on any Red River bridge planning, TxDOT will simply connect it. (unless a flood moves the Red River again)
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bwana39

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3352 on: November 09, 2021, 12:01:12 PM »

https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=3324.msg2499993;topicseen#:~:text=I%20think%20you,were%20centuries%20ago.

I think you gravely underestimate the local commitment in Texarkana and Bowie County to 1-49 and I-369. Texarkana (Texas) sees a major intersection out North of Leary with TWO interstates intersecting; not just one running through the River bottoms then crossing the river. You have to look at the existing bridges on US-59/71 across the Red River.  The Southbound bridge leaves Little River County Arkansas and lands in Bowie county TX. Texas paid for the cash portion of the local funds for the  construction costs Arkansas paid in "IN-kind funding" (almost entirely R.O.W.).   The Northbound bridge leaves Miller County AR and lands in Little River County AR. Partially Paid by TXDOT. 

Arkansas WANTS this rural stretch through Bowie County so Texas will help pay for the bridges and not have significant access for in-town businesses. As soon as digging gets started in Little River County it will also in Bowie County.

While I suggested an Eastern Oklahoma route had been discussed. I also noted that it (..."has never been significantly considered beyond theory)"   I see nothing short of JFK standing on that rock out side Big Cedar again making it happen. (Big Cedar is actually further south than US59). Yes, Oklahoma has bigger fish to fry. US 69 or US75 clearly are higher priorities for OKLAHOMA. This said, The US59 Corridor is a world away from US-69(or even the Indian Nation Turnpike.)  Any reference to this route going into Oklahoma is PURELY based on building on a blank slate with no political realities. It might be a better route purely from a road building perspective, but it does go into OKLAHOMA and OKLAHOMA doesn't want it and would choose to spend their money elsewhere. So I am done kicking the dead horse.

As to the chosen route: I pointed out it loops way east to minimize the mountain problems.  Arkansas made the same decision for US-71 nearly 100 years ago. Absent tunneling, it is what it is. There really doesn't seem to be a better Arkansas route. The same mountains are there that were centuries ago.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2021, 10:22:43 PM by bwana39 »
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3353 on: November 12, 2021, 02:22:55 PM »

looks like the next piece to be done is the tiny gap between 40 and 22.
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US71

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3354 on: November 12, 2021, 02:25:49 PM »

looks like the next piece to be done is the tiny gap between 40 and 22.

As soon as they quit building side roads near 49 in Benton County ;)

"but seriously folks"... it will likely be 2 lanes only to start, then expanded later to 4 lanes as more money becomes available.
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MikieTimT

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3355 on: November 12, 2021, 04:28:07 PM »

looks like the next piece to be done is the tiny gap between 40 and 22.

As soon as they quit building side roads near 49 in Benton County ;)

"but seriously folks"... it will likely be 2 lanes only to start, then expanded later to 4 lanes as more money becomes available.

As the alternative is 5 miles I-40, 3 miles on I-540, then 10 miles of a 2 lane AR-59 currently, it's still a welcome start.  When it's done and taking 2 lanes of traffic, it's still better to drive 13.6 miles, even if there's few passing zones or enough traffic that they aren't usable frequently.  And it'll likely be like the Bella Vista Bypass in that it'll be followed up by the next 2 lanes within a few years.
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silverback1065

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3356 on: November 12, 2021, 04:48:19 PM »

Honest question, why wasn't 540 considered as the route for 49 through here? I don't know the area well and I don't read every response here so maybe it's been answered.
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US71

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3357 on: November 12, 2021, 05:20:11 PM »

Honest question, why wasn't 540 considered as the route for 49 through here? I don't know the area well and I don't read every response here so maybe it's been answered.

Short version: 540 deltas back to the mid 60's and is (IMO) sub-standard by today's standards. 

Longer answer: To upgrade 540, a lot of commercial development would have to move (there are no service roads), exit and entrance ramps would need to be extended &/or widened.  Some of the exits are too close together and run into each other. Not every exit has an acceleration or deceleration lane or they are too short.

There is a proposal to reroute part of I-540 to I-49, but that is somewhere in the future.



 
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I-39

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3358 on: November 12, 2021, 05:30:26 PM »

I wonder what we’ll see first, the next section of I-49 or the next section of I-57?
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US71

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3359 on: November 12, 2021, 06:42:38 PM »

I wonder what we’ll see first, the next section of I-49 or the next section of I-57?

I'm going to guess I-57.  The next section of 49 likely won't start for 2-3 more years.
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Tomahawkin

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3360 on: November 12, 2021, 06:56:25 PM »

57, will be 1st, Bank on it. The terrain in NEA is a lot flatter and with the added money from the Feds, Missouri will get onto IH 57 as well. If Im not mistaking Missouri only has to complete 80-100 miles in the state???
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bwana39

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3361 on: November 12, 2021, 08:44:14 PM »

57, will be 1st, Bank on it. The terrain in NEA is a lot flatter and with the added money from the Feds, Missouri will get onto IH 57 as well. If Im not mistaking Missouri only has to complete 80-100 miles in the state???

And I57 is DIRECTLY connected to LRA.
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3362 on: November 12, 2021, 09:15:59 PM »

Yeah, I-57 will be long-finished before I-49 is completed. Once all the sub-standard junk along US-67 in Jacksonville, AR is upgraded I-57 should be able to be signed all the way to Walnut Ridge. Early in 2022 the decision should be made which of 3 options going North of Walnut Ridge to the MO border will be chosen.

Missouri really has the easier share of the burden at completing I-57. US-60 between Poplar Bluff and Sikeston should be a relatively easy upgrade. US-67 from Poplar Bluff to the AR border is a short distance and has few obstacles.
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bwana39

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3363 on: November 12, 2021, 10:39:25 PM »

Honest question, why wasn't 540 considered as the route for 49 through here? I don't know the area well and I don't read every response here so maybe it's been answered.

I can think of several reasons.
1) Traffic would have to go through town. WalMart traffic in particular is just thru traffic.
2) US-71 south of its' split with I-540 is really too congested to upgrade.
3) It might accidentally have taken I-49 through Oklahoma.  (It might have made the eastern Oklahoma route more likely. )
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bwana39

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3364 on: November 12, 2021, 10:41:21 PM »

Even though there is a really serious shortage of truck drivers (as well as shortage of drivers for anything else that requires a CDL) an increase in rail traffic on a corridor from a merged CP/KCS network isn't going to make all that much of a dent in truck traffic on I-35. The line running along the OK/AR border isn't exactly the Southern Transcon. And there is still huge numbers of trucks on the I-44/I-40 combo despite upwards of 100 trains per day on the Southern Transcon.

Freight rail is very important to the nation's infrastructure. But it doesn't go everywhere, or even to a lot of locations it used to serve. Thousands of miles worth of track has been removed just within the last 30 years. Even with some improvements, such as double-track upgrades to the main lines, trucks on highways are still going to be very necessary to get shipments to their destinations.

It isn't because there is a lack of drivers. The problem is the lack of drivers who can pass a DOT physical. The drug screen is a real stopping block for the physical pass rate.
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bwana39

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3365 on: November 12, 2021, 10:44:34 PM »

Even though there is a really serious shortage of truck drivers (as well as shortage of drivers for anything else that requires a CDL) an increase in rail traffic on a corridor from a merged CP/KCS network isn't going to make all that much of a dent in truck traffic on I-35. The line running along the OK/AR border isn't exactly the Southern Transcon. And there is still huge numbers of trucks on the I-44/I-40 combo despite upwards of 100 trains per day on the Southern Transcon.

Freight rail is very important to the nation's infrastructure. But it doesn't go everywhere, or even to a lot of locations it used to serve. Thousands of miles worth of track has been removed just within the last 30 years. Even with some improvements, such as double-track upgrades to the main lines, trucks on highways are still going to be very necessary to get shipments to their destinations.

We should do a far better job of doing trailer trains and containers to places closer to the end delivery point. Even WalMart is figuring out how cost effective rail CAN be.

The reason we have all the truck traffic we have today is the rails were removed in so many places.
The reason the tracks have been taken up or abandoned is because we deregulated the railroads and their incentive to serve many areas disappeared.
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3366 on: November 12, 2021, 11:31:47 PM »

Quote from: bwana39
It isn't because there is a lack of drivers. The problem is the lack of drivers who can pass a DOT physical. The drug screen is a real stopping block for the physical pass rate.

There is indeed a genuine lack of truck drivers. The labor shortage is due to several factors. Probably the biggest reason is driving a big rig truck long distances is not a pleasant job, much less even a conventional one. There are many hours of solitary conditions away from family and friends. Not many people want to sign up for that. There are many hazards on the road; everything from weather and bad road conditions to people trying to pull stop-and-squat insurance fraud scams. Drivers deal with loads of paperwork, log books and other regulatory hassles. Just getting into the industry is difficult. It's not easy to get a CDL. Or cheap. However, more trucking companies are paying the tuition for future drivers to take the CDL classes and final tests.

The prospect of physical exams and drug tests up front along with random screenings definitely turns away some people. At my workplace (a sign design and manufacturing company) everybody is subject to random drug screenings since all our crane truck drivers are subject to the screenings. If they have to pee in a cup we all do. It's only fair. But I've literally seen people come in to fill out job applications, get to the notice about random drug/alcohol screenings and leave the application un-finished as they walk out the door. Oh well.

Quote from: bwana39
We should do a far better job of doing trailer trains and containers to places closer to the end delivery point. Even WalMart is figuring out how cost effective rail CAN be.

There has been a good deal of growth and innovation with moving freight via intermodal methods. For instance, traditional box cars are almost a thing of the past. They've been replaced with multiple rail car types designed to hold shipping containers or big rig truck trailers. "Well cars" can hold double stacked freight containers. Well cars are often joined in multi-unit configurations, either 3 or 5 units with single 4-wheel articulated connectors between the units. These things can haul a hell of a lot of freight.

Despite the innovation it seems more of the US freight rail network is being decommissioned and dismantled than there is new rail getting installed.
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Rothman

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3367 on: November 13, 2021, 01:08:56 AM »

I'd rather our truck drivers not have drug or alcohol issues...
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Road Hog

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3368 on: November 13, 2021, 02:04:29 AM »

The logistics of building an Arkansas River Bridge preclude the construction of a Super-2. You can't build half a span and come back and build the other half on the cheap. So Alma to Barling will be built in full when it happens.
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bwana39

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3369 on: November 13, 2021, 08:46:50 AM »

I'd rather our truck drivers not have drug or alcohol issues...

I agree completely. A decade + ago the model was amphetamines and Vicodin. Neither conducive to safe driving.
The amount of meth addicts is huge.
Pot, regardless how we perceive, it is not a good thing for use when driving.
Drinking and driving also is a problem.



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Bobby5280

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3370 on: November 13, 2021, 11:03:41 AM »

I certainly don't advocate the government to ease requirements for drivers to be clean and sober. The insurance industry absolutely wouldn't ever stand for it. Coverage rates would spike if the government eased up restrictions for drug use on and off the clock. The fact so many people can't pass a piss test or choose drugs over a job with decent pay is a pretty sorry statement about the people of our nation. It makes us look weak as hell.

There is no reliable testing method to measure if someone is too high to drive. Any evidence of drug use in urine or the blood stream is damning. It doesn't matter if the person smoked a blunt that morning or two weeks ago. Plus there is the whole spectrum of drug types, all of which would vary in being able to evaluate if someone was high on that drug or not. It's far more complicated than the BAC tests for alcohol.

Quote from: Road Hog
The logistics of building an Arkansas River Bridge preclude the construction of a Super-2. You can't build half a span and come back and build the other half on the cheap. So Alma to Barling will be built in full when it happens.

They could build a twin bridge span. Build one two-lane bridge for the initial Super-2 segment and then add the second bridge later. The Arkansas River at Fort Smith doesn't require a super high clearance like the Mississippi River. More modest, conventional highway bridge designs can be used. This crossing doesn't require a visual "signature" bridge such as a cable-stayed suspension bridge. Cost estimates don't appear to allow for that at all. Building up berms across flood plain and other grading work is going to eat up much of the budget. The bridge (or bridges) that end up being built will be fairly ordinary looking.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2021, 11:06:31 AM by Bobby5280 »
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US71

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3371 on: November 13, 2021, 03:21:05 PM »

FWIW US 71 (I-49) at US 62 in Fayetteville was built in the late 60's early 70's as a 2-lane road with a bridge over 62. 71 would later be widened to 4lanes.
Of course SB is separate from NB.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3372 on: November 13, 2021, 05:50:25 PM »

The prospect of physical exams and drug tests up front along with random screenings definitely turns away some people. At my workplace (a sign design and manufacturing company) everybody is subject to random drug screenings since all our crane truck drivers are subject to the screenings. If they have to pee in a cup we all do. It's only fair. But I've literally seen people come in to fill out job applications, get to the notice about random drug/alcohol screenings and leave the application un-finished as they walk out the door. Oh well.

I certainly don't advocate the government to ease requirements for drivers to be clean and sober. The insurance industry absolutely wouldn't ever stand for it. Coverage rates would spike if the government eased up restrictions for drug use on and off the clock. The fact so many people can't pass a piss test or choose drugs over a job with decent pay is a pretty sorry statement about the people of our nation. It makes us look weak as hell.

There is no reliable testing method to measure if someone is too high to drive. Any evidence of drug use in urine or the blood stream is damning. It doesn't matter if the person smoked a blunt that morning or two weeks ago. Plus there is the whole spectrum of drug types, all of which would vary in being able to evaluate if someone was high on that drug or not. It's far more complicated than the BAC tests for alcohol.

Keep in mind that you do live in a state with state-licensed medical marijuana. People with a medical marijuana card range from people who use it from time to time as needed (as I do, for insomnia) to people whose quality of life is greatly negatively impacted without it (my wife, who has chronic migraine so bad that before she was on cannabis she usually missed work one or two days a week).

For someone like my wife, you couldn't get her to take a job with regular drug testing if you paid her a hundred dollars an hour. The huge hit to her quality of life just wouldn't be worth it, and if there was any sort of attendance policy in place, she'd end up getting fired eventually anyway. A job isn't worth going back to spending half of her time in a dark room in debilitating pain for her.

For someone like me, if the price was right, you could maybe get me to make that deal. But on the other hand, even though I don't depend on cannabis to make it through the day, I still resent employers who are so presumptuous that they think they can dictate what I do when they're not paying me, especially if it's doing something the state says is legal, like consuming cannabis. And a particularly strict drug policy is a red flag that the employer may be on the wrong side of work/life balance in other areas too. Some employers might let you show your card and let you skate on drug tests, the same way they do employees who have a legitimate prescription for opioids, but dealing with all of the paperwork for that is a hassle, and the risk of getting terminated because you forgot your card lapsed makes it more trouble to accept a job like that than it's worth.

Drug policies are causing some Oklahoma employers to trip over their feet. The Chickasaw Nation, for instance, has been hemorrhaging employees because of pandemic-related resignations, and been unable to fill positions because applicants decline the offer when told it's contingent on a drug test. So they're running multimillion dollar facilities with a skeleton crew, forcing upper management to do front-line duties. You love to see it. But if employers can't fix their policies to reflect the reality of changing societal norms, they're going to be left in the dust.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3373 on: November 13, 2021, 10:20:42 PM »

While I certainly understand why we don't want truck drivers and other professions high or drunk on the job, I also believe it should be strictly illegal for employers to be able to regulate what their employees do off the clock.

I certainly don't advocate the government to ease requirements for drivers to be clean and sober. The insurance industry absolutely wouldn't ever stand for it. Coverage rates would spike if the government eased up restrictions for drug use on and off the clock. The fact so many people can't pass a piss test or choose drugs over a job with decent pay is a pretty sorry statement about the people of our nation. It makes us look weak as hell.
You don't know why people are declining the drug tests.  They might just not like the humiliation of being forced to pee in a cup for their employer.  People don't like being treated like criminals, and the days when people were willing to do anything for a dollar are long gone.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #3374 on: November 14, 2021, 01:18:25 AM »

When what employees do off the clock affects their job performance and safety (e.g., drinking or getting high before their start time), it very much matters.  So, drug screenings at the workplace are highly appropriate.

That said, those that desire to work baked have various other professions they could pursue.
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