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Author Topic: I-49 in Arkansas  (Read 689660 times)

codyg1985

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #425 on: August 07, 2013, 09:33:45 PM »

Any estimates on how much a upgrade from super two to four lanes would cost?

I would think maybe a third of thee cost of the project to build the super-2. The bridges over the freeway will already be wide enough so those will be sufficient. New bridges will need to be built for the new carriageway, and grading and pavement will be needed for the new carriageway as well. The drainage structures, I would think, would partly be in place.
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O Tamandua

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #426 on: August 08, 2013, 10:37:34 AM »

For a citation of this area's population growth (and the now-being-addressed need for a through interstate), to anyone who remembers driving through Bentonville, Arkansas 20-30 years ago (or even 50 years ago when the one stop light was said to be a "blinker") Bentonville High School is set to have 4,200 students this year, 5,000 in 3 years if a new high school isn't built according to a story by KNWA-TV yesterday.

And that's not counting six other high schools in neighboring cities (Rogers, Springdale, Fayetteville, Siloam Springs) that have an average of 2,400 students each.
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Road Hog

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #428 on: August 08, 2013, 09:53:31 PM »

For a citation of this area's population growth (and the now-being-addressed need for a through interstate), to anyone who remembers driving through Bentonville, Arkansas 20-30 years ago (or even 50 years ago when the one stop light was said to be a "blinker") Bentonville High School is set to have 4,200 students this year, 5,000 in 3 years if a new high school isn't built according to a story by KNWA-TV yesterday.

And that's not counting six other high schools in neighboring cities (Rogers, Springdale, Fayetteville, Siloam Springs) that have an average of 2,400 students each.

Link didn't work.
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O Tamandua

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #429 on: August 09, 2013, 09:42:26 AM »

For a citation of this area's population growth (and the now-being-addressed need for a through interstate), to anyone who remembers driving through Bentonville, Arkansas 20-30 years ago (or even 50 years ago when the one stop light was said to be a "blinker") Bentonville High School is set to have 4,200 students this year, 5,000 in 3 years if a new high school isn't built according to a story by KNWA-TV yesterday.

And that's not counting six other high schools in neighboring cities (Rogers, Springdale, Fayetteville, Siloam Springs) that have an average of 2,400 students each.

Link didn't work.

Sorry, Road Hog.  Try this:  http://www.nwahomepage.com/fulltext-news/second-high-school-solution-for-growth/d/fulltext-news/kahwErWO4UComYOqfImn8Q
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Road Hog

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #430 on: August 10, 2013, 11:42:06 AM »

It's worse than I thought, actually. By the time Bentonville builds its second high school, the two separate schools will still be among the 10 biggest in the state. Springdale split several years ago and SHS is still No. 2 in enrollment (Har-Ber is No. 9).

I'm looking at Arkansas Activities Association enrollment numbers, but those only count grades 10-12 and use average numbers from the past 3 years.

I wonder, though, if the desire is still pretty strong to keep Bentonville a one-school town. They're winning state championships by the ton with their numbers advantage and the whole town supports one program. Same dynamic is in play in Texas, in places like Allen and Southlake.

End of sports thread-jack. Back to roads.
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O Tamandua

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #431 on: August 11, 2013, 12:04:27 AM »

It's worse than I thought, actually. By the time Bentonville builds its second high school, the two separate schools will still be among the 10 biggest in the state. Springdale split several years ago and SHS is still No. 2 in enrollment (Har-Ber is No. 9).

I'm looking at Arkansas Activities Association enrollment numbers, but those only count grades 10-12 and use average numbers from the past 3 years.

I wonder, though, if the desire is still pretty strong to keep Bentonville a one-school town. They're winning state championships by the ton with their numbers advantage and the whole town supports one program. Same dynamic is in play in Texas, in places like Allen and Southlake.

End of sports thread-jack. Back to roads.

Yes, there has been.  And while it is still a one-school town they're playing Euless, TX Trinity next month, with Trinity ranked #17 in the nation, #3 in Texas.  This after "Bennie" played teams ranked #1 at one point or another last season in Oklahoma (Tulsa Union, in the big preseason scrimmage), Missouri, Mississippi and Arkansas, beating them all before losing in the rematch to Fayetteville in the 2012 state championship game.  South Panola won it all in Mississippi last year, too.  According to Rivals and USA Today, South Panola finished as America's top team in 2010 (Euless Trinity started as America's top team and pretty much held it until losing, surprisingly, in the Texas 5A championship game.)

I've veered off roads too much here, too, so I'll stop from here on out.  Suffice it to say that this isn't our father's northwest Arkansas.  Goodness, it's really not our oldest brother's northwest Arkansas, either.  (A decade ago you'd never have seen a northwest Arkansas team hanging with schools like the aforementioned.  Then Springdale 2005 came along and ever since then the talent seems to have just kept coming, mainly because the kids who were little in the first big move in wave from the early 2000s are coming of high school age.)  There's all sorts of things happening here most people wouldn't have dreamt of 15 or more years ago.  And, IMO, when the interstate is finished, and ESPECIALLY if I-49(/I-69 through Texas) is finished we may not have seen "nuthin'" yet.

Back to highways for good.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #432 on: August 13, 2013, 07:48:41 PM »

I asked about the cost from a super two to a true Interstate as we can all see the need. Not a resident of Arkansas but do the local residents seem willing to take a higher tax rate to help support four lanes (like NE Missouri did with US-36/I-72)? This tax would be on top of the new statewide tax but would speed I-49 and yes 6 lanes ahead quicker plus the US-420 project.
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US71

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #433 on: August 13, 2013, 08:08:16 PM »

I asked about the cost from a super two to a true Interstate as we can all see the need. Not a resident of Arkansas but do the local residents seem willing to take a higher tax rate to help support four lanes (like NE Missouri did with US-36/I-72)? This tax would be on top of the new statewide tax but would speed I-49 and yes 6 lanes ahead quicker plus the US-420 project.

Depends who you ask. NW Arkansas, maybe. Southern Arkansas, not likely.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #434 on: August 17, 2013, 12:43:28 PM »

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #435 on: August 20, 2013, 07:44:14 PM »

In the above news it said Arkansas was looking at tolls again for the south bound lanes of Bella Vista Bypass. I read back in the summer that I 40 and this project would be hard to make a toll road because they cannot toll fees on existing roads that Federal money has been spent on. For instance AHTD said if they add another lane to I 40 from Little Rock to Memphis, they could toll that lane only so if you got over in the far left lane, you have to pay. But if you drove the distance in the 2 inside lanes you would not have to pay. On the Bella Vista Bypass the North bound lanes have had federal money involved so the south bound lanes would not If tolled. Missouri said when they build there part it would be all 4 lanes because of expense and they have the money set aside. Looks like that would be a mess.
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US71

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #436 on: August 20, 2013, 08:28:37 PM »

In the above news it said Arkansas was looking at tolls again for the south bound lanes of Bella Vista Bypass. I read back in the summer that I 40 and this project would be hard to make a toll road because they cannot toll fees on existing roads that Federal money has been spent on. For instance AHTD said if they add another lane to I 40 from Little Rock to Memphis, they could toll that lane only so if you got over in the far left lane, you have to pay. But if you drove the distance in the 2 inside lanes you would not have to pay. On the Bella Vista Bypass the North bound lanes have had federal money involved so the south bound lanes would not If tolled. Missouri said when they build there part it would be all 4 lanes because of expense and they have the money set aside. Looks like that would be a mess.

Arkansas would also have to rewrite the highway laws to permit tolling.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #437 on: August 20, 2013, 10:29:14 PM »

I agree,  Especially sense the 2 lanes north will have also 1/2 cent sales tax money passed by the voters and there was not any mention any of those roads would be possible toll roads in the future.
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O Tamandua

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #438 on: August 24, 2013, 08:58:44 PM »

Man, this is weird.

Visiting Fort Smith today, and I see that work has indeed resumed on the (currently) "Interstate to nowhere".   Road graders were working the roadbed in the area around future I-49 and Rogers Avenue in a suburb called Barling.  At the sparkling Massard Road bridge (emblazoned with plaques bearing the names of AHTD officials including the omnipresent former Razorback cheerleader Dick Trammell), where there was an interstate of weeds in May the roadbed has been mowed and is in the process of grading.  There was an earthmover and a grader parked under the bridge.  The future northbound lanes are graded for two lanes and shoulders...the future southbound ones are just graded one lanes.  There was a black substance that appears to be on the graded ground...don't know if that's herbicide but there were no weeds growing on the graded bed.

New buildings keep being built.  The Phoenix Metals facility, announced in May, is among those, 1/4 mile west of the future Interstate.  Though I tend to discount it, a veteran retail clerk at Dillard's in Fort Smith says the hot rumor is that there's going to be an open air mall built in this area much like Pinnacle Hills Promenade in Rogers.  Were I not to know better, this would almost be like some Stephen King novel or Twilight Zone episode where a city is mysteriously being built on the edge of nowhere.  In reality, it shows me how many people are really betting on the future main corridor between Mexico and Canada.  And my gut feeling is Fort Smith will almost be as big a beneficiary as Shreveport, with better river connections though not-as-strong rail ones.

Update: there IS a mall being planned for this place!
« Last Edit: August 25, 2013, 02:49:14 PM by O Tamandua »
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codyg1985

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #439 on: August 25, 2013, 02:10:13 PM »

Any updates on the Arkansas River bridge and the connection to I-40/current I-540?
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Cody Goodman
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #440 on: August 25, 2013, 02:55:18 PM »

Any updates on the Arkansas River bridge and the connection to I-40/current I-540?

Codyg, can't speak for those in the know but I've not heard of any.  That's what makes this so "Rod Serling-ish/Stephen King-ish".  These businesses (including the proposed 70 store, 90-100 acre shopping mall which according to the Dillard's employee I spoke with may look very much like the Pinnacle Hills Promenade in Rogers, AR, pictured below, though the newspaper article says it will be more like this shopping center which appears to be only 1/3 the size of the future Barling/I-49 development) are MILES from I-40 right now, and even a few miles (at least) east of the current Fort Smith Interstate bypass...but the reason the Phoenix Metals people I linked to the story on above (whose structure is going up right now, 3 months after the announcement) said they located there is because of its proximity to I-40.

(EDIT...didn't see it before, but here's the newspaper article on the shopping mall, again, bear in mind there is virtually NOTHING here right now save a convenience store, woods, and a sparkling new bridge-and-interstate-to-nowhere.  Amazingly, this is such an in-plain-sight-huge-secret that there aren't even any comments in the newspaper article on it, pro or con):

« Last Edit: August 25, 2013, 06:38:40 PM by O Tamandua »
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Grzrd

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #441 on: August 27, 2013, 04:41:55 PM »

Any updates on the Arkansas River bridge and the connection to I-40/current I-540?

I recently had an email Q & A exchange with AHTD and the short answer is that AHTD does not even have plans to begin the design work for the Arkansas River bridge:

Quote
Q: With the opening of the Chaffee Crossing section of I-49 scheduled for late 2014, does AHTD plan to begin design work on the Future I-49 Arkansas River bridge at any time in the foreseeable future?

A: Not at this time. There isn’t any funding identified for that river crossing.
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O Tamandua

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #442 on: August 27, 2013, 04:46:06 PM »

Any updates on the Arkansas River bridge and the connection to I-40/current I-540?

I recently had an email Q & A exchange with AHTD and the short answer is that AHTD does not even have plans to begin the design work for the Arkansas River bridge:

Quote
Q: With the opening of the Chaffee Crossing section of I-49 scheduled for late 2014, does AHTD plan to begin design work on the Future I-49 Arkansas River bridge at any time in the foreseeable future?

A: Not at this time. There isn’t any funding identified for that river crossing.

Grzrd, just posted an answer to the "Chaffee Crossing" thread on a concern about this.

It's going to be fascinating to see how both the I-49 Arkansas River Bridge (with its attendant junctions at current I-540 Alma and Rogers Ave/Ark 22) and the I-49 Greenwood/Texarkana sections get resolved if they ever do.  (And, frankly, these dreams are going to be seen less as shaped like "pipes" and more like "bullseyes".  There are a LOT of people who appear to be dearly wanting the rest of this interstate to happen as it closes in, pincer-like, on those final two* areas.

*Not including Lafayette-New Orleans, currently also served through I-10.)
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US71

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #443 on: August 28, 2013, 11:12:03 AM »


(EDIT...didn't see it before, but here's the newspaper article on the shopping mall, again, bear in mind there is virtually NOTHING here right now save a convenience store, woods, and a sparkling new bridge-and-interstate-to-nowhere.  Amazingly, this is such an in-plain-sight-huge-secret that there aren't even any comments in the newspaper article on it, pro or con):


There is a new High School that is going to be built at the west end of Chaffee Crossing and there are several factories as well. AHTD just moved their Fort Smith offices out there, there's the Janet Huckabee Nature Center near the south end, a proposed nature museum next to it and a new fire station under construction. :)
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #444 on: August 28, 2013, 01:41:51 PM »

A former Mena mayor wants AHTD to build the section around Mena before the rest of the highway.  He said that AHTD claimed they didn't have the money to build it.  Sounds like an excuse to me.
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Road Hog

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #445 on: August 29, 2013, 01:00:36 AM »

A former Mena mayor wants AHTD to build the section around Mena before the rest of the highway.  He said that AHTD claimed they didn't have the money to build it.  Sounds like an excuse to me.

It makes sense to build the segments around towns first as bypasses (Mena, Waldron, etc.) and then connect them as you go.
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US71

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #446 on: August 29, 2013, 08:44:53 AM »

A former Mena mayor wants AHTD to build the section around Mena before the rest of the highway.  He said that AHTD claimed they didn't have the money to build it.  Sounds like an excuse to me.

It makes sense to build the segments around towns first as bypasses (Mena, Waldron, etc.) and then connect them as you go.

AHTD is not known for common sense.
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rte66man

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #447 on: August 29, 2013, 01:03:59 PM »

A former Mena mayor wants AHTD to build the section around Mena before the rest of the highway.  He said that AHTD claimed they didn't have the money to build it.  Sounds like an excuse to me.

It makes sense to build the segments around towns first as bypasses (Mena, Waldron, etc.) and then connect them as you go.

That is the way Texas does it (see US277, US81, US82, etc).

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #448 on: August 29, 2013, 09:22:28 PM »

This article, primarily about the possibility of tolling I-40 (and previously discussed in the 6 Laning I-40 thread), reports that, even though Arkansas voters approved the one-half cent sales tax to fund the initial two lanes of the BVB, AHTD is currently investigating the tolling potential of the BVB:
Quote
Are you only looking at this section of Interstate 40?  No, the Department is currently investigating tolling potential in two other corridors (Northbelt Freeway, in conjunction with Metroplan, and the Bella Vista Bypass).

This article reports that AHTD is investigating the possibility of tolling not only the Bella Vista Bypass, but also "other sections of the interstate", and that there is a "realistic possibility" that the entire four lanes of the BVB might be completed within the current time frame for two lane construction, even in the absence of tolling:

Quote
AHTD Public Information Officer Randy Ort said while Missouri was struggling to secure the funding necessary to finish its portion of the Bella Vista Bypass, Arkansas had secured enough to install two of the highway's planned four lanes. To complete the other four lanes, AHTD would have to figure out a way to raise an additional $50 million.
One way to possibly pay for the Arkansas portion of not only the Bella Vista Bypass, but other sections of the interstate, would be the creation of Arkansas' first ever toll road, which Ort said was being studied for feasibility.
"It's a candidate to be a toll road, but we need to get the results of this study," he said. "Another reason the results of this study are so important, no only will that show us whether or not it's feasible as a toll road, it will provide us a great amount of data and information as to what it will take to complete the final two lanes to make it the ultimate four lanes that both states want. So by getting the results of the toll study, we think there is a possibility, and a realistic possibility, whether it's a toll road or not a toll road that we will be able to complete this as a four lane facility in the time frame that we committed to only committed to build the two lanes."

Where would AHTD find the money in the absence of tolls?



This TV video report, in addition to having footage of the paving project in the Chaffee Crossing area, reports an AHTD estimate of twenty years to connect Fort Smith, Texarkana, and Bella Vista via I-49:

Quote
“We still have a pretty sizable gap in Arkansas from Texarkana to Fort Smith,” Ort said. ”It’s going to be about 180 miles and about a 2.5 billion dollars. That’s very hard to fund a project of that size.”
“That’s a very expensive project,” explained Dick Trammel,  Now I think in the future, everyone’s going to work towards trying to make that possible. I think the funding is going to be the problem.”
The Highway Department says they’re committed to completing the I49 corridor across the state. However, they estimate it could be 20 years before Texarkana connects to Fort Smith and up through Bella Vista.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2013, 09:30:34 PM by Grzrd »
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O Tamandua

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #449 on: August 29, 2013, 11:14:27 PM »

Good work, Grzrd.

Dig the man with the I-49 necktie toward the report's end!

BTW, don't know where they'll get the money, but I-49 as two lanes around Bella Vista could be, I'm afraid, an absolute MESS given the traffic it will see.  Glad they're thinking ahead on this one if they follow through.

EDIT:

Some fascinating things on that City Wire article:

1.  Trouble in the Show Me State?

Quote
"And today, we have the plans done. They've been done for many years. We would have to go in and refresh those plans, but that would be a relatively minor task. We purchased the land but we have one challenge," he said. "Considering all the work we did north of there, we no longer have enough money to complete that. So at this time, we can't commit to a schedule in Missouri to do that."

The shortfall in funding amounts to about $25 million, though he said Missouri transportation officials were working to find a funding source to complete the state's portion of the project.

2.  Then there's this potential "lulu":

Quote
Gard Wayt, the Shreveport, La.-based executive director of the I-49 International Coalition, said having officials like Whitaker and others from the city and county level on up to the federal level participate in today's meeting was designed to get all sides thinking and working together to figure out how to finish I-49 at an accelerated rate, a rate at which the interstate could be done in less than a decade.

"If I were going to be safe, I'd say (the Arkansas portion would be complete in) 10 years," ( :wow: ) Wayt said. "But what we're trying to do is cut that in half." (  :wow:   :wow: )

Which "Arkansas portion" does he mean?  The WHOLE one?!?!  I know if he's the director of the I-49 coalition he'd be an optimist, but wow...  (Then again, Texas' Highway and Transportation Department, per the graphic from KTBS-TV/Shreveport earlier, is like the old singer/guitarist Billy Squier when talking about I-49...."Everybody wants you!"  Instead of being a pipe dream, this is rapidly becoming something that the focus and the impetus will get narrower and stronger on, IMO.)
« Last Edit: August 29, 2013, 11:38:27 PM by O Tamandua »
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