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Author Topic: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing  (Read 14850 times)

O Tamandua

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I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« on: August 26, 2013, 02:25:34 PM »

Published today in Arkansas Business - honestly, I think this almost deserves its own thread now because I've not seen anything like this (again, currently built around an "interstate-to-nowhere") in my life...moderators, please move to the "I-49, Bella Vista/Fort Smith" thread or elsewhere if this is inappropriate for a new thread:

Quote
Inside the boundaries of Chaffee Crossing named for Fort Chaffee, the military base that formerly occupied the land is a mix of residential, commercial, recreational, historical and industrial projects. This has not been a slow year for Owen or anybody affiliated with the Crossing, which is located inside both Fort Smith and Barling with residents who are assigned to either the Greenwood or Fort Smith school districts. Consider:
  • Old Dominion Freight Line added a 65-bay terminal earlier this year;
  • Umarex USA and Walther Arms invested $7 million in an expansion of their factory inside Chaffee Crossing;
  • Phoenix Metals is relocating here from Russellville;
  • The Fort Smith School District has designated land within the area as the location of its next high school;
  • First Baptist Church, a fixture in downtown Fort Smith, has plans to build a new campus at Chaffee Crossing; and
  • A 70-store mall is slated for 90 acres of property inside the Barling city limits.

and;

Quote
By the end of the year a total of six residential developments will be part of the district, which Owen estimates has generated more than $800 million in capital investments since the FCRA was set up in 1999.
 
"I'm not bashful when I say this: We are the economic engine in western Arkansas," Owen said. "Everything is happening here. It's not just one thing. This has everything that a community or economic developer dreams about. If you were going to come in here with a blank slate and be an economic community developer, this is a dream come true."
 
A year ago Chaffee Crossing was recognized as the Association of Defense Communities Base Redevelopment Project of the Year. Growth hasn't slowed since then, and the only thing limiting additional industrial expansion is the limited amount of land left zoned for that use.

and;

Quote
Even with all the amenities, Walker said, some in town seem skeptical that Chaffee Crossing will be good for the city. There is some concern, he said, that it will hurt other parts of town.
 
I think there are a lot of people in my line of work and my age that see the opportunities out here, Walker said. Fort Smith will be unrecognizable in five years and were excited about it. Unfortunately, there are naysayers and people who are maybe a little bit jealous of the Chaffee Crossing area. What they dont understand is this is a plus for all of Fort Smith from the east side to downtown and everywhere else.

and;

Quote
All of the success that has happened at Chaffee Crossing has been achieved without perhaps the largest piece of the puzzle. Construction is continuing on Interstate 49, which will one day connect the Gulf Coast near New Orleans to the Canadian border. It will include a six-mile stretch that runs through Chaffee Crossing and connect Highway 59 from Van Buren to U.S. 71 south of Fort Smith.
 
Its near the eventual intersection of Highway 59 and I-49 that the mall is planned. Owen said there will be 12 corners of prime real estate available after the interstate work is complete. Those, Owen said, will be some of the most valuable land in Chaffee Crossing thanks to an estimated 35,000 vehicles per day that will pass through the development district.
   
Some people still dont believe its going to happen, Owen said of the I-49 project, set for local completion in mid-2014. Theyre convinced its not going to happen. There are some of those people around, some hesitancy until they see pavement or until they see traffic. But when that happens, those 12 corners are going to sell and that is going to be the icing on top of the cake as far as Im concerned.

http://www.arkansasbusiness.com/article/94253/chaffee-crossing-in-fort-smith-continues-to-attract-projects?page=1
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O Tamandua

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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2013, 10:50:31 PM »

"Short I-49 stretch to open in late 2014"  (Hwy 22 (Rogers Ave.) to U.S. 71 (above Greenwood).
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bugo

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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2013, 11:12:41 PM »

I-540 should be extended west into Oklahoma and meet back up with I-40 somewhere between Sallisaw and the state line.  This would benefit NB 49-WB 40 and vice versa traffic.
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rte66man

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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2013, 01:26:41 PM »

I-540 should be extended west into Oklahoma and meet back up with I-40 somewhere between Sallisaw and the state line.  This would benefit NB 49-WB 40 and vice versa traffic.

When I was working in the OK legislature about 15 years ago, they were dividing up the so-called ROADS money.  One of the members approached me about an estimated cost of running a four lane freeway from I40 just east of Muldrow south and east to US271 just east of the junction with OK112.  At that time, with two large bridges (Arkansas River and Poteau River) and lots of floodplain to cross, it was estimated at about $350 million.  Can't believe it would be less than $600 million today.

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bugo

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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2013, 01:39:19 PM »

The US 59 expressway south of Sallisaw could probably be turned into a freeway if some frontage roads and overpasses were built.  This way, it could use the existing US 59 bridges over the Arkansas River.  There would have to be a bypass of south Sallisaw which is 5 lanes undivided and the speed limit goes from 65-55-45-35.  A Spiro bypass would have to be built and it would have to be squeezed through Pocola or bypass the notorious speed trap.  It could probably use the current Poteau River bridges.  The US 59/OK 9 overlap is slated to become an extension of the 4 lane expressway (US 59 will follow a curve and become the through highway and the stop sign and left turn on SB 59 will be eliminated.  OK 9 EB will have to stop.)  The only problem is that this road would be much longer and more expensive and the US 59 expressway would work well enough if a few bypasses and interchanges were built.
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O Tamandua

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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2013, 04:42:24 PM »

Would be nice if that stretch of highway could indeed be added to the current interior bypass.

Here's one thing that troubles me (and I'm sure someone here can answer).  I know that part of the reason I-69 is coming together in Texas is because the Feds allowed interstate sections to be signed (if they're at interstate quality) even if they don't currently connect to an existing other stretch of interstate.

If the I-49 article (from Ark 22 to U.S. 71) is correct about the future I-49 at Fort Smith, this will need to have adequate signage to convey that the highway essentially dead-ends at Arkansas 22, and that one will have to, at the "dead-end" turnoff, take Arkansas 22 (Rogers Avenue East, heavily traveled in east FSM) to the JK Klutz Memorial Expressway about 3 miles west, then head north on that across the Arkansas River to get to I-40, current I-540.

Maybe this is a minor issue, but this is brand new interstate rather than interstate being built along an existing highway (such as so much of Texas I-69, where it exists, is now).  I'm afraid it will get confusing, even as it's exciting that apparently yet another I-49 section will be dedicated next year.
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US71

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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2013, 11:28:13 AM »

I suspect the short segment between Fort Smith and Barling won't be I-49 just yet, I doubt it will be US 71, either.  I'm betting more on an AR x-49, x-71 or Spur 71. Very slim chance it could be an extension of AR 59.

I'm sure there will be some signage "TO AR 22" &/or "TO US 71". Maybe a "TO I-540" (straight) along US 71.

AHTD is also fairly good about  "Expressway Ends 1 Mile" signage.

As far as confusing drivers in the beginning, thinking they can use the new road to get to I-540 (no one ever calls it BL Klutz Memorial Hwy) the possibility exists, but I doubt that many people will have a problem.
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bugo

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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2013, 01:40:27 PM »

Just because it's signed "I-49" doesn't mean that it is necessarily a long stretch of highway.  Go ahead and give the road the number that you plan on eventually calling it right now and don't create confusion like will happen when I-49 replaces I-540.
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US71

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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2013, 01:55:48 PM »

Just because it's signed "I-49" doesn't mean that it is necessarily a long stretch of highway.  Go ahead and give the road the number that you plan on eventually calling it right now and don't create confusion like will happen when I-49 replaces I-540.

If they're going to call it I-49, then it's time to "retire" AR 549 at Texarkana.  OR we could call it AR 49 for now ;)
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Gordon

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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2013, 10:01:32 PM »

The Interstate 49 Coalition will host a conference at 10 a.m. Thursday at the new Arkansas Highway District 4 headquarters in Barling, Ark.

The conference will discuss updates of the I-49 project in Missouri, Louisiana and Arkansas.

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US71

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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2015, 08:06:56 PM »






« Last Edit: June 09, 2015, 10:13:06 PM by US71 »
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codyg1985

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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2015, 07:43:52 AM »

Exit numbers!
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Cody Goodman
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US71

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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2015, 08:10:49 AM »

Exit numbers!
Now AHTD will have to renumber the exits north of Alma.
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codyg1985

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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2015, 08:12:44 AM »

Exit numbers!
Now AHTD will have to renumber the exits north of Alma.

Paging AHTD....

Are there any immediate plans for that?
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Cody Goodman
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Henry

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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2015, 10:07:07 AM »

Just because it's signed "I-49" doesn't mean that it is necessarily a long stretch of highway.  Go ahead and give the road the number that you plan on eventually calling it right now and don't create confusion like will happen when I-49 replaces I-540.

If they're going to call it I-49, then it's time to "retire" AR 549 at Texarkana.  OR we could call it AR 49 for now ;)
Yeah, AR 549's days are definitely numbered in Texarkana, now that the connection into Shreveport is complete, with the exception of that pesky section that is threatening to plow through the Allendale community, IIRC.
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US71

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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2015, 03:41:54 PM »

Just because it's signed "I-49" doesn't mean that it is necessarily a long stretch of highway.  Go ahead and give the road the number that you plan on eventually calling it right now and don't create confusion like will happen when I-49 replaces I-540.

If they're going to call it I-49, then it's time to "retire" AR 549 at Texarkana.  OR we could call it AR 49 for now ;)
Yeah, AR 549's days are definitely numbered in Texarkana, now that the connection into Shreveport is complete, with the exception of that pesky section that is threatening to plow through the Allendale community, IIRC.

549 no longer exists at Texarkana: it's officially I-49
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2015, 07:35:52 PM »

It's kind of amazing all the growth that is taking place even before the I-49 bridge across the Arkansas River is funded and built. I guess they figure once I-49 is in place all the rapid development that has been going on farther North will gravitate down there pretty quickly. Better to be in there early than later when the land prices will be a lot higher.

Quote
Even with all the amenities, Walker said, some in town seem skeptical that Chaffee Crossing will be good for the city. There is some concern, he said, that it will hurt other parts of town.

There are some other parts of Fort Smith that are already in pretty run down condition. In the long term the Chaffee Crossing area is going to be in a much better location with the I-49 corridor running through it.

Quote from: bugo
I-540 should be extended west into Oklahoma and meet back up with I-40 somewhere between Sallisaw and the state line.  This would benefit NB 49-WB 40 and vice versa traffic.

That would work if a new freeway from I-40 in OK to I-540 in AR ran a little farther and connected directly into the I-49 corridor. I-49 is basically running parallel a few miles East of I-540. If the freeway concept didn't run from I-40 to I-49 South of Fort Smith any NB traffic on I-49 would need to exit to US-71 and take that until reaching I-540. As a loop I-540 might have to be renamed to something like I-640.

I think a new I-x40 freeway West of Fort Smith would work best as a new terrain route off I-40 from just East of Muldrow. Most of that land down to OK-9/US-271 is not developed. The new terrain route could connect into I-540 near the Tri-State Speedway. There's actually a fairly clear path South from there to extend farther into the I-49 corridor East of Bonanza, AR.

Quote from: O Tamandua
Here's one thing that troubles me (and I'm sure someone here can answer).  I know that part of the reason I-69 is coming together in Texas is because the Feds allowed interstate sections to be signed (if they're at interstate quality) even if they don't currently connect to an existing other stretch of interstate.

The Feds only allowed that exception for the Interstates at the far South end of Texas. Everything else has to connect to another Interstate. I don't think AASHTO would allow the Chaffee Crossing section to be signed as I-49 until it is connected to the I-40/I-49 interchange in Alma. At best, I could see it being signed as Future I-49 until then.
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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2015, 07:49:01 PM »

All of the Interstates in south Texas connect to at least one other Interstate. I-69W connects to I-35, and I-2 connects to both I-69C and I-69E. I-69E near Corpus Christi connects to I-37, and I-69 in the Houston area connects to I-10, I-45, and I-610.
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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2015, 09:09:14 PM »

The Feds only allowed that exception for the Interstates at the far South end of Texas. Everything else has to connect to another Interstate. I don't think AASHTO would allow the Chaffee Crossing section to be signed as I-49 until it is connected to the I-40/I-49 interchange in Alma. At best, I could see it being signed as Future I-49 until then.

Even if we exclude NC division of FHWA's invention of the standalone "Future Interstate" shield, I-22 in Alabama says "hi!"

That said, it's hard to argue that this section of freeway is/will be a useful through routing for much of anyone at present, so I'd not sign it as I-49 yet (particularly since travelers from south of Fort Smith might incorrectly believe it's a useful way to get to I-49 north of I-40).
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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2015, 10:36:51 PM »

It's kind of amazing all the growth that is taking place even before the I-49 bridge across the Arkansas River is funded and built. I guess they figure once I-49 is in place all the rapid development that has been going on farther North will gravitate down there pretty quickly. Better to be in there early than later when the land prices will be a lot higher.

Quote from: bugo
I-540 should be extended west into Oklahoma and meet back up with I-40 somewhere between Sallisaw and the state line.  This would benefit NB 49-WB 40 and vice versa traffic.

Quote from: Bobby
That would work if a new freeway from I-40 in OK to I-540 in AR ran a little farther and connected directly into the I-49 corridor. I-49 is basically running parallel a few miles East of I-540. If the freeway concept didn't run from I-40 to I-49 South of Fort Smith any NB traffic on I-49 would need to exit to US-71 and take that until reaching I-540. As a loop I-540 might have to be renamed to something like I-640.

I think a new I-x40 freeway West of Fort Smith would work best as a new terrain route off I-40 from just East of Muldrow. Most of that land down to OK-9/US-271 is not developed. The new terrain route could connect into I-540 near the Tri-State Speedway. There's actually a fairly clear path South from there to extend farther into the I-49 corridor East of Bonanza, AR.

About 20 years ago, I worked at the OK Legislature.  When the ROADS package was first proposed, an Eastern OK legislator asked me to look into a freeway/turnpike from just east of Muldrow on I40 south and east to meet US271 west of the junction with OK112.  The cost would have been prohibitive.  Not only would you have to bridge the MKNS, you would also have to bridge the Poteau River plus the road would have to be raised quite a bit out of the floodplain between the 2.  If you thought getting $$ for the I49 MKNS bridge was tough, just think how much harder a road like this would be to fund.
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US71

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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2015, 11:22:04 PM »

Drove over to the Barling side of 49 today. The speed limit will be 65 mph and it appears the road will simply be AR 549 with no Cardinal direction (that I could see).

There is at least one "Future I-49" sign as you head south from AR 22. None of the intersecting roads have been signed yet, only the freeway.


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US71

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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2015, 05:48:24 PM »

Did a quick drive-by today: control points are US 71 and AR 22

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O Tamandua

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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2015, 02:18:58 PM »

Thanks, US71.  Hope someone opens a good pizza parlor along here somewhere.  :clap:
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O Tamandua

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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2015, 11:44:01 AM »

I've never seen more hype over an interstate that currently will go to nowhere:

Quote
There are two I-49 interchanges in Chaffee Crossing, and the opening of this local portion of a cross-country interstate happened sooner than he expected. Just three or four years ago when people asked him when he was going to retire, Owen said the first day that I drive on I-49 will be the last day Im at work.

Well, I gotta change my tune, Owen said. It happened sooner than I thought it would, but not as soon as I would have liked.

http://swtimes.com/business/chaffee-crossing-halfway-mark-land-development

It's so foolish NOT to be planning a completed I-49 now (as opposed to 30 years ago, with no Interstate between Kansas City and Shreveport, when PLANNING I-49 might have been foolish (or not)).
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Re: I-49 at Fort Smith's Chaffee Crossing
« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2015, 12:16:04 PM »

I've never seen more hype over an interstate that currently will go to nowhere
That is, until the big gap between Texarkana and Fort Smith is completely filled in, and the issues concerning the Bella Vista Bypass and Shreveport ICC have been resolved.
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