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Author Topic: I-49 in Arkansas  (Read 716406 times)

Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #100 on: November 20, 2011, 09:10:39 AM »

Arkansas has a lot on its hands... but they need to focus on I-49/I-540... And not the southern section of I-49.  What is with the section south of Texarkana?  Why exactly was that constructed?  There's no traffic!  I'm sick of seeing NW Arkansas being tossed aside in terms of funding.  They need to basically re-do I-540 from Exit 62 (Martin Luther King Jr/US 62 west) to Exit 88 (Central Avenue/AR 72) in Bentonville... All from poor planning.   I drive it everyday, and it's ridiculous.  Accidents are literally daily, and just further tie up traffic.  Traffic during peak times can crawl at 30 MPH.


Just wait until Louisiana opens its segment of I-49 North from I-220 in Shreveport northward in 2015, and you'll see why it was built.

Last time I checked, there was a plan to widen and upgrade I-540 through NW AK...just awaiting funding.


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Grzrd

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #101 on: November 28, 2011, 12:19:11 PM »

Arkansas has a lot on its hands... but they need to focus on I-49/I-540... And not the southern section of I-49 ... I'm sick of seeing NW Arkansas being tossed aside in terms of funding.  They need to basically re-do I-540 from Exit 62 (Martin Luther King Jr/US 62 west) to Exit 88 (Central Avenue/AR 72) in Bentonville...
Last time I checked, there was a plan to widen and upgrade I-540 through NW AK...just awaiting funding.

Eight I-540 interchanges are planned to be upgraded using the bond money that Arkansas voters recently approved:
http://www.4029tv.com/r/29706053/detail.html

Quote
Interstate 540 is a highly traveled stretch of road, and if voters approve the bonds those who take advantage of Arkansas interstates will reap the benefits.
"We're going to redo eight interchanges to make it easier to get on and get off," Arkansas Highway Commissioner Dick Trammel said. "It lets us do highways now instead of piecing it out over the next 12 or 15 years. We'll add our bonds. It creates a billion dollars -- $575 million in the bonds plus federal." ...
It could also lead to even bigger improvements such as taking four lanes of I-540 and turning it into six lanes.
"Interchange improvements are the first step toward the eventual widening of 540. We need voters to approve this on Tuesday, and if they upgrade our interchanges, then widening is in our future ...

However, the future increase from four lanes to six lanes will not be funded by the bonds:
http://www.arkansashighways.com/news/2011/2011_Bond_Program.pdf

Quote
... no additional lanes can be added using these funds.
[page 3 of document, page 4/7 of pdf].

EDIT

The above AHTD link indicates plans to rehabilitate and improve the following I-540 interchanges in Washington and Benton counties: Hwys. 62/180, Hwys. 16/112S, Great House Springs Road, Elm Springs Road, Wagon Wheel Road, Hwy. 264, Hwy. 71B, Hwys. 62/102, and Hwy. 72.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2012, 02:11:15 AM by Grzrd »
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #102 on: November 28, 2011, 01:24:51 PM »

I wonder if the mainline bridges can be widened inside the interchanges but stripped for the same amount of lanes?
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #103 on: November 28, 2011, 06:10:16 PM »


The above AHTD link indicates plans to rehabilitate and improve the following I-540 interchanges in Washington and Benton counties: Hwys. 62/180, Hwys. 16/112S, Great House Springs Road, Elm Springs Road, Wagon Wheel Road, Hwy. 264, Hwy. 71B, Hwys. 62/102, and Hwy. 72.

US 62 West is being improved now, 16 West was recently "improved", as was Porter Road.  I'm not sure what else AHTD can do besides rebuild the bridges & widen 540
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #104 on: December 13, 2011, 03:26:23 PM »

Two more projects in the area of Roberts Road to Massard Road, and between US 71 and Howard Hill, should be let by next summer:
http://swtimes.com/site/bios/business/article_f9f4b068-2595-11e1-92b4-001871e3ce6c.html

Quote
Members of the Frontier Metropolitan Planning Organization’s policy board heard an overview of area highway construction projects during a meeting Monday.
Joe Shipman, area district engineer for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, said work continues on the six-mile stretch of highway destined to be part of Interstate 49 that will link Rogers Avenue (Arkansas 22) to U.S. 71 south of Fort Smith at Howard Hill Road.
Shipman said two contracts on the project are in the works and bids will be awarded on another two, in the area of Roberts Road to Massard Road, and between U.S. 71 and Howard Hill, by next summer. Once those are completed, the only remaining work will be the paving, Shipman said ...

EDIT

Here is a link to some similar update info as above:
http://www.swtimes.com/business/article_5c808044-4b22-11e0-9dee-001cc4c03286.html

Quote
... Ivy Owen, executive director of the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority and member of the Western Arkansas Regional Intermodal Transportation Authority, told authority board members Wednesday construction of the interstate crossing at Chaffee Crossing is progressing rapidly. He said earth work and bridge and support work on a portion of the road between Arkansas 22 and Howard Hill is on schedule for completion within a year and a contracts are due to be awarded soon on a portion of the road from Howard Hill to U.S. 71.
Owen said the status of the project has progressed at a rate that his predictions on the highway have changed from "it won't be completed in my lifetime" to "before I retire, I will be driving on I-49 ....
« Last Edit: February 05, 2012, 02:12:57 AM by Grzrd »
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #105 on: December 16, 2011, 11:49:24 AM »

This article indicates that the Chaffee Crossing section of I-49 will be open to traffic in 2014:
http://www.swtimes.com/business/article_0c084836-2731-11e1-ac2f-0019bb2963f4.html

Quote
... Progress on several fronts has occurred at Chaffee Crossing, Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority staff member Larry Evans told the board. He said construction of the local portion of the Interstate 49 project at Chaffee Crossing continues, with another two contracts remaining to be let on the seven-mile stretch between Arkansas 22 and U.S. 71 before the road is paved.
Evans said highway officials have indicated local motorists may be traveling on the Chaffee Crossing portion of the highway sometime in 2014 ...

EDIT

This article has basically same info as above, but it speaks in terms of the status of the four interchanges near Fort Smith:
http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2011/dec/17/fort-smiths-4th-interchange-i-49-get-star-20111217/?f=news-arkansas

Quote
The state Highway and Transportation Department plans to award a contract next year to build a fourth interchange in the Fort Smith area for the long-planned Interstate 49.
The interchange would be at U.S. 71 south of the city, according to Joe Shipman, District 4 engineer for the Highway Department ...
Three other Fort Smith-area interchanges for the new northsouth interstate are nearly finished, according to Shipman.
Highway engineers hope traffic will flow on the 6-mile strip within three to five years. It would be one of the first new stretches of future I-49 to be completed in the state since 2005.Arkansas is spending $57.65 million on I-49 interchanges, roadway and other structuresso far in Fort Smith. Complete or nearly complete are interchanges at Arkansas 22 (Rogers Avenue), Roberts Boulevard and Massard Road.
When the fourth interchange on U.S. 71 is under contract and construction is well under way, the state expects to go forward with the last step, Shipman said. That would be paving the highway and opening it to traffic, perhaps by 2014. That schedule depends on available funding.
The projects in Arkansas don’t yet have an official Interstate 49 designation. The state Highway Department refers to the Fort Smith section as “Highway 71 Relocation (I-49).” ...
« Last Edit: February 05, 2012, 02:14:14 AM by Grzrd »
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #106 on: December 17, 2011, 02:09:51 AM »


US 62 West is being improved now, 16 West was recently "improved", as was Porter Road.  I'm not sure what else AHTD can do besides rebuild the bridges & widen 540


They need to improve a lot of the interchanges.  At peak times, NWA traffic is hell.  Exit 86 (off of where I live) is horrible.  The traffic on 14th Street (in Bentonville) and Hudson Road (in Rogers) backs up for an insane length.  This was noted in the study I found of I-540.  The Walton/Walnut exit to the south is another.  Traffic on US 71 approaching Bella Vista, from the south, backs up...  I can't even speak for the Springdale/Fayetteville interchanges.  AHTD is too cheap, and they need to gut the majority of the NWA interchanges and do it right.

The thing with traffic in NWA is that it occurs during certain times.  Most other times, it's heavy.  :)

I drove from Exit 85 on I-540 to the Missouri state line today, and it took me 45 minutes.

It just angers me that such crappy planning was in place, on all levels... Growth or not, plan it out.

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #107 on: December 17, 2011, 08:47:19 AM »


It just angers me that such crappy planning was in place, on all levels... Growth or not, plan it out.


Well, that's Arkansas for you: they never seem to plan very well. They never anticipated the growth thanks to Wal-Mart/Tyson/JB Hunt. Are they still "talking" about the Springdale Bypass and the special toll road to the airport (which is something else they need to do: fix 264 to the airport).

If AHTD had planned better, they wouldn't need the Bella Vista Bypass and could go straight up 71...but it got too commercialized, too quickly.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #108 on: December 19, 2011, 01:24:50 AM »

Well, that's Arkansas for you: they never seem to plan very well. They never anticipated the growth thanks to Wal-Mart/Tyson/JB Hunt. Are they still "talking" about the Springdale Bypass and the special toll road to the airport (which is something else they need to do: fix 264 to the airport).

If AHTD had planned better, they wouldn't need the Bella Vista Bypass and could go straight up 71...but it got too commercialized, too quickly.

The Springdale Bypass (which is really needed) is still on the books, and has been listed on the latest STIP I found, I believe.  But I'm sure it'll be another 40 years (and that's being generous) until it is actually fully built.  Although, I think fixing I-540 (widening/interchanges) and the Bella Vista Bypass need to be fixed before the Springdale/US 412 Bypass. I also agree on the airport link... I wasn't aware of a toll road to the airport... Interesting.  I'm still scratching my head as to why they put the main airport here in the middle of nowhere.  :)

On a side note, on I-540/future I-49, they are looking at constructing an interchange in Springdale for Don Tyson Parkway, an interchange for Joyce Boulevard in Fayetteville, and an interchange for SE 8th Street in Bentonville.  They were also looking at an interchange for NE J Street in Bentonville, but I think they scrapped that idea... The city of Bentonville said it would be too costly.

Here's a link for the 8th Street project:  http://www.bentonvillear.com/8th_street_project.html

Here's a few links for the Don Tyson Parkway interchange project:  http://www.springdalear.gov/news/newsdetail94.asp
http://www.5newsonline.com/news/kfsm-i540-interchange-at-don-tyson-parkway-closer-to-construction-20110411,0,6240393.story

Both projects will help with traffic woes in NWA.  The Don Tyson Parkway interchange will take a bit of traffic away from Sunset Avenue.  The 8th Street interchange will take away traffic from 14th Street in Bentonville... It's mainly for Walmart employees.

I couldn't find any links for the Joyce Boulevard interchange with I-540... I think it's in the very early stages.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #109 on: December 19, 2011, 01:46:52 AM »


The Springdale Bypass (which is really needed) is still on the books, and has been listed on the latest STIP I found, I believe.  But I'm sure it'll be another 40 years (and that's being generous) until it is actually fully built.  Although, I think fixing I-540 (widening/interchanges) and the Bella Vista Bypass need to be fixed before the Springdale/US 412 Bypass. I also agree on the airport link... I wasn't aware of a toll road to the airport... Interesting.  I'm still scratching my head as to why they put the main airport here in the middle of nowhere.  :)


#1 The land was cheap
#2 It was close to Wal-Mart HQ (relatively speaking).

Long story short: Wal-Mart/Tyson/JB Hunt built it and forced everyone to use it.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #110 on: December 19, 2011, 12:35:18 PM »


I couldn't find any links for the Joyce Boulevard interchange with I-540... I think it's in the very early stages.

Joyce Blvd will be a pain to build if they go through with it: very steep terrain in the vicinity of 540.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #111 on: December 20, 2011, 12:52:38 AM »

#1 The land was cheap
#2 It was close to Wal-Mart HQ (relatively speaking).

Long story short: Wal-Mart/Tyson/JB Hunt built it and forced everyone to use it.
Joyce Blvd will be a pain to build if they go through with it: very steep terrain in the vicinity of 540.

True... I believe Walmart doesn't utilize XNA as much as the airport in Rogers... Apparently, that's where the corporate hotshots fly in and out of... That's where all of the Walmart corporate jets are... But XNA does have a lot of traffic too.  At least this is what my friend is telling me who has lived here for 21 years... :)

The Joyce Blvd interchange could and should be done.  Not a high priority... but it's on the table.

Joyce Blvd & College (US 71B) is the most congested intersection in Fayetteville.  They are planning a flyover for US 71B (College Ave) to westbound US 71B... since there is no connection...  I'm still confused on the US 71 designations in Fayetteville and NWA.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #112 on: December 20, 2011, 10:56:54 AM »


True... I believe Walmart doesn't utilize XNA as much as the airport in Rogers... Apparently, that's where the corporate hotshots fly in and out of... That's where all of the Walmart corporate jets are... But XNA does have a lot of traffic too.  At least this is what my friend is telling me who has lived here for 21 years... :)

But almost all the vendors fly to XNA because that's where the commercial flights land.

Quote
Joyce Blvd & College (US 71B) is the most congested intersection in Fayetteville.  They are planning a flyover for US 71B (College Ave) to westbound US 71B... since there is no connection...  I'm still confused on the US 71 designations in Fayetteville and NWA.

They don't know what they want for College & Joyce. I used to live near there and there is always a different proposal. There isn't a lot they can do since the whole area is commercialized. They should have done something when the old Ramada Inn was torn down instead of making anoither strip mall.

The "flyover" would be from College Ave (71B) to the Fulbright Expressway (technically 71 Spur or 471 Spur, but never referred to that way. I say call it a Business Spur, since AHTD is bull of BS). They've been discussing that for almost 10 years. Originally, you were supposed to use the Jughandle at Stearns St (now Joyce Blvd) and turn around, but that is no longer feasible.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #113 on: December 22, 2011, 12:10:24 AM »

Interesting... I'm not extremely familiar with Fayetteville traffic, but I do know the Jughandle is used by right-turners from College to Joyce.  Nice idea, but it's not working as it should :).  My friend's sister actually got in a bad accident there, because she thought the jughandle was a shortcut to College, from Joyce.  It was her own stupidity, but it goes to show that driver familiarity is an important thing to consider, and signage be more than adequate.  You can't stick something that isn't familiar, and expect drivers to figure it out, without adequate signage... and the signage for the jughandle is not adequate.

This mess at College & Joyce sounds like one that they are working on in Sioux Falls, SD.  Here's a link for the planning:  http://www.sddot.com/PE/projdev/planning_ss_I29Exit77.asp

The 41st & Louise there is comparable to the College & Joyce intersection...  The center turn overpass is interesting... and could fix College & Joyce... Sounds pretty expensive though.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #114 on: December 22, 2011, 12:35:49 AM »

Interesting... I'm not extremely familiar with Fayetteville traffic, but I do know the Jughandle is used by right-turners from College to Joyce.  Nice idea, but it's not working as it should :).  My friend's sister actually got in a bad accident there, because she thought the jughandle was a shortcut to College, from Joyce.  It was her own stupidity, but it goes to show that driver familiarity is an important thing to consider, and signage be more than adequate.  You can't stick something that isn't familiar, and expect drivers to figure it out, without adequate signage... and the signage for the jughandle is not adequate.


When the original 71 Bypass was built circa 1971, everything around the mall was undeveloped, except along the west service road. Joyce went 2 blocks east and ended behind what's now Lindsey Real Estate. The jughandle was useful then, but is all but useless now for making U Turns. I think the signage for the jughandle still show it as a turn around for 71/62/540.  I think I still have some maps from that time somewhere in my collection. Wal-Mart was rumored for several years before it was finally built south of the mall, but AHTD & Fayetteille Street Dept didn't plan ahead. That was also an era of "growth at any price" in city government. After the oldest living trees in town were cut down to build Target, THEN people started to notice.  That's one reason I finally moved away: Fayetteville lost its charm to the explosive growth.

To fix College and Joyce will cost lots of money...and probably several businesses.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #115 on: December 27, 2011, 04:58:00 PM »

After getting Arkansas voters to approve the bond referendum for interstate maintenance in November, AHTD and the Arkansas legislature will come back in November 2012 and ask Arkansas voters to approve a one-half percent increase in the sales tax for construction of and improvements to four-lane highways (including additional lanes).  Completion of two lanes of the Bella Vista Bypass is one of the projects that would be funded by the increase:
http://thecabin.net/news/2011-12-24/highway-improvement-advocates-gearing-sales-tax-hike-campaign

Quote
Advocates for renewing a $575 million highway bond program breezed to victory in a November special election with a simple but effective message to voters: Raise new highway maintenance funds without raising taxes.  
Now they’re gearing up for a very “different campaign” next year to pay for a broader highway construction by adding taxes on top of taxes.
The Legislature this year referred to the 2012 general election ballot a proposed constitutional amendment that would raise the state’s 6 percent sales tax to 6 1/2 percent to fund a $1.8 billion program that would connect all corners of the state with four-lane highways ...
“There is no question it will be a tough sell,” even with the prospects for job creation and economic development, said Randy Zook, president and CEO of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce-Associated Industries of Arkansas ...
Under the proposed constitutional amendment, a half-cent sales tax increase would be in effect for 10 years. Highway construction under the plan would focus primarily on a creating a statewide four-lane grid and adding capacity to existing four-lane highways.
The state would receive 70 percent of the proceeds, an estimated $1.1 billion, with cities and counties sharing the remaining 30 percent, about $700 million ...
Scott Bennett, director of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department ... has said approval of the half-cent sales tax increase would fund a number of large, expensive projects across Arkansas, including replacement of the Interstate 30 bridge over the Arkansas River between Little Rock and North Little Rock, widening I-40 between Little Rock and Conway, and widening U.S. 67-167 between Jacksonville and Cabot.
Two lanes of the proposed Bella Vista bypass also would be completed in northwestern Arkansas, and in the south, U.S. 82 between Magnolia and El Dorado would be widened, as would a number of other heavily traveled highways across the state, Bennett said ...
Crucial to the highway tax increase effort, supporters say, would be the support of Gov. Mike Beebe. The governor was featured in television commercials for the road bond renewal drive but has remained steadfastly noncommittal to the highway tax increase proposal.  
About all Beebe has said about the plan is that in the current economy voters would be hard-pressed to support a tax increase ...
« Last Edit: February 05, 2012, 02:16:13 AM by Grzrd »
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #116 on: December 27, 2011, 07:58:30 PM »

Crucial to the highway tax increase effort, supporters say, would be the support of Gov. Mike Beebe. The governor was featured in television commercials for the road bond renewal drive but has remained steadfastly noncommittal to the highway tax increase proposal. 
About all Beebe has said about the plan is that in the current economy voters would be hard-pressed to support a tax increase ..."

If he DID support it publicly, it would be the kiss of death to his being Governor. He has cut the grocery tax twice, much to the protest of his opponents. To suddenly support a tax increase for any reason would likely be fatal to his political career. Could we use it? Sure! But I don't think he'll go on the record as supporting it.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #117 on: December 28, 2011, 11:30:51 PM »

They need to do something... The highway funding formula for this state is seriously flawed, by the sounds of it. 

For me, the Bella Vista Bypass should be at the top of the list.  Missouri is ready to designate US 71 from I-44 to KC as I-49 by the end of 2012.  If AR would fast-track the bypass, we could have I-49 from KC to I-40 near Fort Smith.

Other states can do it right, why can't Arkansas?
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #118 on: December 28, 2011, 11:50:03 PM »

They need to do something... The highway funding formula for this state is seriously flawed, by the sounds of it. 

For me, the Bella Vista Bypass should be at the top of the list.  Missouri is ready to designate US 71 from I-44 to KC as I-49 by the end of 2012.  If AR would fast-track the bypass, we could have I-49 from KC to I-40 near Fort Smith.

Other states can do it right, why can't Arkansas?

Arkansas has always been backwards. We're also a poor state, so we don't have a lot of money. Then they wait too long and have to start again. It took 30+ years to plan/build 540 north of Alma.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #119 on: December 29, 2011, 11:51:29 AM »

Is there still a 4-lane Bella Vista bypass option on the table?  How can the entire corridor be labeled an I-xx without full multilane freeway?  Maybe I'm getting my posts mixed up....
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #120 on: December 29, 2011, 11:52:36 AM »

^ I think the other two lanes will be built later as funding becomes available. I think it will be graded so that there will be room for the other carriageway.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #121 on: December 29, 2011, 03:57:28 PM »

^ I think the other two lanes will be built later as funding becomes available. I think it will be graded so that there will be room for the other carriageway.

Yes. For now, it will be a "Super 2" with Right of Way to expand once money becomes available. Work is currently underway around Hiwasse on grading and structures.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #122 on: December 30, 2011, 12:27:45 AM »

Arkansas has always been backwards. We're also a poor state, so we don't have a lot of money. Then they wait too long and have to start again. It took 30+ years to plan/build 540 north of Alma.

It looks like AHTD has a new director...

Also, I wouldn't call AR a backwards state (although I'd really like to).  I see a lot of the southern states with progress when it comes to roads/highways.  Alabama and Mississippi come to mind with I-22.  Something is seriously flawed in AR with the highway funding, and it needs to be fixed.  And the fact that Little Rock has the highest amount of Interstate mileage per capita... I can't find the facts to back this up right now, but I believe it.

I see US 67 with a limited access roadway constructed to Cash, AR... Why?  Why, oh why?  I've looked at Google StreetView...  And I see US 63 from I-55 to Jonesboro.  I know the growth in NWA was quick, but why can't we get this type of attention.  And AHTD is very, very flawed, because the AR 102 (14th Street) reconstruction in Bentonville took, literally, years to complete.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #123 on: December 30, 2011, 12:48:26 AM »



It looks like AHTD has a new director...

Also, I wouldn't call AR a backwards state (although I'd really like to).  I see a lot of the southern states with progress when it comes to roads/highways.  Alabama and Mississippi come to mind with I-22.  Something is seriously flawed in AR with the highway funding, and it needs to be fixed.  And the fact that Little Rock has the highest amount of Interstate mileage per capita... I can't find the facts to back this up right now, but I believe it.

I see US 67 with a limited access roadway constructed to Cash, AR... Why?  Why, oh why?  I've looked at Google StreetView...  And I see US 63 from I-55 to Jonesboro.  I know the growth in NWA was quick, but why can't we get this type of attention.  And AHTD is very, very flawed, because the AR 102 (14th Street) reconstruction in Bentonville took, literally, years to complete.

Don't forget the last part of the 440 Loop is unfunded, too. I'd say misplaced priorities at the least. I have a 1970's Crawford County map that shows I-540 as proposed. Why did it take another 25-30 years? And it was going to be a continuation of the VB/FSM segment, instead of jumping around like it does now.
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ShawnP

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #124 on: December 30, 2011, 06:32:28 AM »

Reason why Arkansas doesn't have I-22 like progress is Bama has Richard Shelby. Shelby has been one stubborn SOB in pushing I-22. Stories of him holding up Congressional vacations for more funding are legendary.
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