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Author Topic: I-49 in Arkansas  (Read 799951 times)

MikieTimT

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2300 on: December 17, 2018, 05:21:18 PM »

OT I think the stretch of 49 from From Smith to Texarkana might be done the same way IH 22 was done in Alabama. That took nearly 20 years to do 100 miles. Even though about 20-30 miles outside of Birmingham is 6 lanes which I love, but the 22/65 interchange took 5-7 years...

I don't see much progress on that stretch until the Waldron, Mena, and De Queen bypasses are done, like Fayetteville was done originally before the rest of I-540 connected up Bella Vista to Alma.  Then, the bypasses connected together, probably with Texarkana to DeQueen connected first as it's the lowest hanging fruit, topography-wise.  Hopefully they put some thought into the interchanges when the time comes so they don't have to redo them like the north side of Fayetteville had to have done.

As I've said before, ARDOT doesn't seem to plan ahead. The Fayetteville Bypass is a good example: built as 2 lanes at-grade, then piecemeal upgraded to 4 Lanes, then sticking 4-Lane 71 next to AR 112, then eventually rebuilding the junction. Not to mention waiting almost 40 years to build a flyover from NB 71B to the SB Bypass. They are more RE-active than PRO-active.

I figure by the time I-49 is complete from Bella Vista to Missouri, ARDOT will decide it needs major upgrades.

I think that NWA has just about reached the stage of being in perpetual construction.  It's about to cross into Top 100 MSA territory.  By the time 2020 comes around and the current phase of 6-laning wraps up, they'll need a couple more lanes, and then be tapped out on the ability to handle anything more on the current I-49.  Then the Western Beltway will be dusted off again and it'll be time for me to move out of here since I don't want an interstate next to the nice quiet woods I live in now.
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Tomahawkin

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2301 on: December 17, 2018, 06:14:02 PM »

That's good foreshadowing. By 2025 there might be preliminary talks on a total loop around Fayetteville, Springdale and Rogers. Especially if the growth rate continues at the current pace...By then this post will be at 150 pages...
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US71

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2302 on: December 17, 2018, 06:37:34 PM »

That's good foreshadowing. By 2025 there might be preliminary talks on a total loop around Fayetteville, Springdale and Rogers. Especially if the growth rate continues at the current pace...By then this post will be at 150 pages...

It has been discussed in passing.  In the interim, the AR 265 extension will handle traffic from Fayetteville to Rogers on the east side of town.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2303 on: December 17, 2018, 08:08:18 PM »

Yeah I remember people 15 years ago, using 265 (crossover rd?) To bypass US71. If that is still the case, they need to 6 lane that whole corridor. Ditto with SR 112
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US71

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2304 on: December 17, 2018, 08:37:36 PM »

Yeah I remember people 15 years ago, using 265 (crossover rd?) To bypass US71. If that is still the case, they need to 6 lane that whole corridor. Ditto with SR 112

265 is being 4-Laned to AR 94 in Rogers. The double curve is being straightened on the north side of Springdale and the road widened.  At Rogers, it will shift from Old Wire Road to S 1st Street via a new connector. Last I looked, it was almost finished, but I've seen no updates from ARDOT.
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US71

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2305 on: December 17, 2018, 09:42:10 PM »

I received a message from ARDOT that the 49/Bus 71 junction at Bella Vista will be a SPUI. It will likely be bid sometime next year depending on MODOT's progress.
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mvak36

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2306 on: December 17, 2018, 10:30:38 PM »

I received a message from ARDOT that the 49/Bus 71 junction at Bella Vista will be a SPUI. It will likely be bid sometime next year depending on MODOT's progress.

Is that where the roundabout is right now?
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sparker

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2307 on: December 18, 2018, 02:09:50 AM »

I think that NWA has just about reached the stage of being in perpetual construction.  It's about to cross into Top 100 MSA territory.  By the time 2020 comes around and the current phase of 6-laning wraps up, they'll need a couple more lanes, and then be tapped out on the ability to handle anything more on the current I-49.  Then the Western Beltway will be dusted off again and it'll be time for me to move out of here since I don't want an interstate next to the nice quiet woods I live in now.

NWA's ever-growing status may yet prompt a serious attempt to deploy a direct Interstate-grade Tulsa-Springville connection along or paralleling US 412.  OK probably wouldn't mind as long as they could add the additional mileage to be constructed to their toll network, but someone at ARDOT would have to inform the folks in Siloam Springs that like it or not, they're getting bypassed -- and that they would need to make arrangements to take all due advantage of said bypass.  Now -- whether a parallel "relief" route for I-49 is warranted in the near term might be a subject for debate; I'd guess increasing the capacity of the existing freeway (and dealing with the "non-standard" features) would be given prioritization; a bypass loop would come later when even an enhanced 49 corridor was starting to display signs of inadequacy.     
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US71

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2308 on: December 18, 2018, 08:11:51 AM »

I received a message from ARDOT that the 49/Bus 71 junction at Bella Vista will be a SPUI. It will likely be bid sometime next year depending on MODOT's progress.

Is that where the roundabout is right now?

Yes. I was discussing their plans for the SPUI at 49/Bus 71 in Bentonville (Exit 85) and they mentioned a proposed SPUI at Bella Vista, plus one at AR 10 and Rodney Parham in Little Rock (I didn't think the two crossed)
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GreenLanternCorps

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2309 on: December 18, 2018, 08:32:41 AM »

I received a message from ARDOT that the 49/Bus 71 junction at Bella Vista will be a SPUI. It will likely be bid sometime next year depending on MODOT's progress.

Is that where the roundabout is right now?

Yes. I was discussing their plans for the SPUI at 49/Bus 71 in Bentonville (Exit 85) and they mentioned a proposed SPUI at Bella Vista, plus one at AR 10 and Rodney Parham in Little Rock (I didn't think the two crossed)

Given the geography of the I-49/US 71/AR 549 (Future I-49) interchange location,  redesigning it to an SPUI and maintaining traffic is going to be challenging to say the least.

I'm no engineer, but fitting this:



Into this:

https://www.google.com/maps/@36.4143432,-94.2243708,16.33z

Is going to require a lot of construction.

I'd love to see the drawings and plans on how they are going to maintain traffic.
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Henry

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2310 on: December 18, 2018, 09:56:31 AM »

I just noticed that at the current north end of the BVB (at Rocky Dell Hollow Road), there are many side roads in the way, as well as a couple of small ponds. How different will the layout be from what's there now, and what roads in the area will be rerouted/eliminated?
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US71

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2311 on: December 18, 2018, 10:31:04 AM »

I just noticed that at the current north end of the BVB (at Rocky Dell Hollow Road), there are many side roads in the way, as well as a couple of small ponds. How different will the layout be from what's there now, and what roads in the area will be rerouted/eliminated?

CR 34 has already been rerouted to the west and Highlands Blvd will likely have a grade separation. Beyond that, you'd probably have to ask ARDOT
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2312 on: December 18, 2018, 11:44:39 AM »

Quote from: GreenLanternCorps
Given the geography of the I-49/US 71/AR 549 (Future I-49) interchange location,  redesigning it to an SPUI and maintaining traffic is going to be challenging to say the least.

Given the footprint of the existing I-49 interchange and roundabout, I doubt ARDOT would need to acquire any more ROW. A SPUI could fit in that foot print pretty easily.

Maintaining traffic and minimizing disruptions is another matter. My guess is they'll build the I-49 main lanes on a bridge over the North half of the existing roundabout. The bridge structure would go up first and everything else would build out from it. They're going to have to add that second set of lanes to future I-49 on the West side of the interchange. Traffic could shift to the new lanes when part of the new bridge is finished so the existing approach can be elevated. Conversion of the roundabout into a SPUI would happen underneath.
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US71

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2313 on: December 18, 2018, 11:47:55 AM »

Quote from: GreenLanternCorps
Given the geography of the I-49/US 71/AR 549 (Future I-49) interchange location,  redesigning it to an SPUI and maintaining traffic is going to be challenging to say the least.

Given the footprint of the existing I-49 interchange and roundabout, I doubt ARDOT would need to acquire any more ROW. A SPUI could fit in that foot print pretty easily.

Maintaining traffic and minimizing disruptions is another matter. My guess is they'll build the I-49 main lanes on a bridge over the North half of the existing roundabout. The bridge structure would go up first and everything else would build out from it. They're going to have to add that second set of lanes to future I-49 on the West side of the interchange. Traffic could shift to the new lanes when part of the new bridge is finished so the existing approach can be elevated. Conversion of the roundabout into a SPUI would happen underneath.

Sort of what they are doing with the Exit 85 conversion. They will convert one side, then the other side.
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O Tamandua

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2314 on: December 18, 2018, 12:04:43 PM »

Political and public pressure to extend I-49 South from Fort Smith will increase only after the Alma to Barling segment is finally built. The price of that proposed bridge over the Arkansas River is only getting more expensive the longer it keeps getting pushed off into the future, like a game of political kick the can. The US-412 bypass up in NWA is easier to build because its cost is cheaper per mile and it's located closer to higher income locations than the lower rent stuff around Fort Smith. So they're making that a bigger priority.

This all gets back to why the federal government has to be taking a far bigger leadership role in this stuff. It's important to the overall Interstate highway network that ALL of I-49 gets completed. If individual states and local areas are going to be doing more of the deciding on what gets built and when then that notion of a big picture NATIONAL highway network becomes completely irrelevant. As much as Fort Smith is kind of a red-headed step child to its neighbors up the road to the North the smaller communities between Fort Smith and Texarkana are even less of a priority. IMHO it will take a lot of federal intervention and federal funding for the I-49 segment between Fort Smith and Texarkana to get built. If it's left up to Arkansas alone the road may never get built.

The US 412 Bypass will likely serve more AADT for the foreseeable future, so it makes sense for Arkansas to prioritize the remaining 2 segments over anything south of Rye Hill at this point.  That said, it would knock about 10-12 minutes off my drive back to my hometown if they would build the bridge and remaining river valley I-49 segment.  And Ft. Smith has earned the red-headed stepchild reputation due to their perpetually dysfunctional city government that puts any business over a barrel that wants to operate there.  A completed Interstate 49 will help a little with commercial/industrial growth, but it won't change the culture of government there that's really the reason it's hamstrung.  Ft. Smith has so many things going for it that should make it growth-positive, like cheap land and labor, status as a border city, access to a navigable river and Class I railroad, etc.

Left up to Arkansas, it'll be 25-30 years until it's done unless we grow another John Paul Hammerschmidt to get some infrastructure budgeted from the federal government since it is actually a federal highway serving interstate traffic, probably even more so than local traffic for a few counties south of Sebastian.

Interesting you should say that about FSM.  In the most recent mayor's race, there was a Brazilian (a US military veteran who is a UAFS student, from a wealthy farming family in Brazil) who wanted to "make Fort Smith great again" and did speak positively of I-49 in his mayoral campaign.  He was simply too young to be taken seriously, though he was a good kid who seemed on the right side of the issues I saw him speak about.  As it is now, I'd really be curious to hear the new mayor's genuine thoughts on I-49, especially given that the "marooned" segment and the Arkansas River bridge are or will be pretty much Alma-Kibler-Barling-Greenwood things with very little carriageway in the FSM city limits.  (Again, I wonder whether or not either the Brazilian candidate or the new mayor know the NWA paper ran an article over a decade ago saying that a completed I-49 is projected to make FSM grow like NWA.)
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GreenLanternCorps

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2315 on: December 18, 2018, 12:15:03 PM »

Quote from: GreenLanternCorps
Given the geography of the I-49/US 71/AR 549 (Future I-49) interchange location,  redesigning it to an SPUI and maintaining traffic is going to be challenging to say the least.

Given the footprint of the existing I-49 interchange and roundabout, I doubt ARDOT would need to acquire any more ROW. A SPUI could fit in that foot print pretty easily.

Maintaining traffic and minimizing disruptions is another matter. My guess is they'll build the I-49 main lanes on a bridge over the North half of the existing roundabout. The bridge structure would go up first and everything else would build out from it. They're going to have to add that second set of lanes to future I-49 on the West side of the interchange. Traffic could shift to the new lanes when part of the new bridge is finished so the existing approach can be elevated. Conversion of the roundabout into a SPUI would happen underneath.

Sort of what they are doing with the Exit 85 conversion. They will convert one side, then the other side.

The tricky part is not the bridge over the roundabout, the tricky part is maintaining the I-49 to US 71 Connection for a large amount of north and southbound traffic until the connection from I-49 to AR 549 is built AND Missouri completes it's end of the bypass.  Sequencing and timing are going to be important.
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MikieTimT

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2316 on: December 18, 2018, 12:48:04 PM »

Interesting you should say that about FSM.  In the most recent mayor's race, there was a Brazilian (a US military veteran who is a UAFS student, from a wealthy farming family in Brazil) who wanted to "make Fort Smith great again" and did speak positively of I-49 in his mayoral campaign.  He was simply too young to be taken seriously, though he was a good kid who seemed on the right side of the issues I saw him speak about.  As it is now, I'd really be curious to hear the new mayor's genuine thoughts on I-49, especially given that the "marooned" segment and the Arkansas River bridge are or will be pretty much Alma-Kibler-Barling-Greenwood things with very little carriageway in the FSM city limits.  (Again, I wonder whether or not either the Brazilian candidate or the new mayor know the NWA paper ran an article over a decade ago saying that a completed I-49 is projected to make FSM grow like NWA.)

FSM only really has connections to I-49 along Mazzard and, if they annex everything up to and including Rye Hill southward until they butt up against where Greenwood will likely attempt to annex up to them along US 71, I'd expect the south side of Ft. Smith to be where the growth occurs to meet up with those two major exits.  Barling has them blocked off from a lot of the Chaffee Crossing industrial areas.  The real explosion in growth is going to be Alma.  Anywhere 2 major interstates cross is ripe for huge growth.  I-49 just isn't yet a major, or even a close to complete interstate.  Wish I had some money to sink into real estate in that area to hopefully retire on in 20-25 years.
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2317 on: December 18, 2018, 01:32:15 PM »

Quote
The tricky part is not the bridge over the roundabout, the tricky part is maintaining the I-49 to US 71 Connection for a large amount of north and southbound traffic until the connection from I-49 to AR 549 is built AND Missouri completes it's end of the bypass.  Sequencing and timing are going to be important.

I'm sure they'll try to avoid messing with the main movements of I-49 and US-71 North of the Interchange as long as possible, building other phases of the project first. There will be a lot of grading to do. I think at some point they'll have to reduce traffic on the existing I-49/US-71 road to just one lane in each direction, shifting everything over to the Northbound carriageway. That seems unavoidable, particularly for attaching the new I-49 main lanes into the existing route Southeast of the interchange. It also seems unavoidable for some entrance and exit ramps to be closed. I think Business US-71 coming up from the South could be cut off for weeks or even months during the project.
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MikieTimT

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2318 on: December 19, 2018, 09:48:11 PM »

That's good foreshadowing. By 2025 there might be preliminary talks on a total loop around Fayetteville, Springdale and Rogers. Especially if the growth rate continues at the current pace...By then this post will be at 150 pages...

It has been discussed in passing.  In the interim, the AR 265 extension will handle traffic from Fayetteville to Rogers on the east side of town.

It's been more than discussed.
https://nwarpc.org/datacatalog/western-beltway-feasibility-study/
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2319 on: December 19, 2018, 11:11:31 PM »

Thanks chief. OT, IMO IH-49 should have lighting from 40 north to Fayetteville. I have been there many times where you can't see deer crossing the road. As well as the storms and fog. Also IMO 49 should have call boxes at every mile like IH 10 In Florida. But I know the state is broke???
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2320 on: December 20, 2018, 03:38:09 AM »

I think that NWA has just about reached the stage of being in perpetual construction.  It's about to cross into Top 100 MSA territory.  By the time 2020 comes around and the current phase of 6-laning wraps up, they'll need a couple more lanes, and then be tapped out on the ability to handle anything more on the current I-49.  Then the Western Beltway will be dusted off again and it'll be time for me to move out of here since I don't want an interstate next to the nice quiet woods I live in now.

NWA's ever-growing status may yet prompt a serious attempt to deploy a direct Interstate-grade Tulsa-Springville connection along or paralleling US 412.  OK probably wouldn't mind as long as they could add the additional mileage to be constructed to their toll network, but someone at ARDOT would have to inform the folks in Siloam Springs that like it or not, they're getting bypassed -- and that they would need to make arrangements to take all due advantage of said bypass.  Now -- whether a parallel "relief" route for I-49 is warranted in the near term might be a subject for debate; I'd guess increasing the capacity of the existing freeway (and dealing with the "non-standard" features) would be given prioritization; a bypass loop would come later when even an enhanced 49 corridor was starting to display signs of inadequacy.   
They're not going to build a new terrain freeway paralleling US 412 between Tulsa and Springdale. There is a perfectly good expressway between the two points. If anything happens, it would be the upgrading the existing expressway into a freeway. Other than Siloam Springs and in Springdale there are no lights or stop signs along this part of the highway. There is no need for a new terrain freeway paralleling US 412.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2321 on: December 20, 2018, 05:08:17 AM »

^^^^^^^^
The only "new terrain" mileage on an enhanced US 412-based Tulsa-NWA corridor would be a continuation of the current Springdale bypass -- just enough to bypass that portion of 412 with considerable private access, as well as the previously mentioned Siloam Springs bypass facility.  The rest, particularly the OK mileage, is either the Cherokee Turnpike or expressway and could be upgraded along the present ROW.  But such an upgrade isn't going to happen anytime soon; both states have too much else on their plates.  Nevertheless, if NWA continues growing at anywhere near its recent pace, E-W access will likely show up on the agenda at some point -- and the potential of the Springdale bypass as a starting point won't go unnoticed.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2322 on: December 20, 2018, 08:59:03 PM »

I think it's only a matter of time before a fully Interstate-class highway becomes necessary between Tulsa and NW Arkansas.

The 26 mile segment of US-412 between the I-44 & US-412 interchange on the East side of Tulsa and the beginning of the Cherokee Turnpike would be relatively easy to upgrade. There's not very many properties too close the highway. The existing expressway is pretty much Interstate-grade; it just has 23 at-grade intersections to modify. The intersections are all crossing roads. No driveways. Some intersections are already ready to upgrade into Interstate quality exits. Other intersections will take more work to upgrade into Interstate exits. Some intersecting roads will just have to be bridged over US-412 without any on/off ramps. Overall it looks similar to some of work that had to be done to US-71 in Missouri to turn it into I-49.

From the East end of the Cherokee Turnpike US-412 requires more work to get into Arkansas. Along with intersections there is a bunch of driveways and properties close to the road. A new terrain bypass may indeed be necessary.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2323 on: December 20, 2018, 09:16:25 PM »

I agree Bobby. And a 412 extension to 555 in NE Arkansas would be nice. Its such a pain in the Ass to have to go south to IH 40 to get to NE Arkansas. That also would mean a new rerouting of 412 bypassing Springdale. That is light years away to. But its good to be proactive instead of reactivate...
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #2324 on: December 20, 2018, 11:03:52 PM »

I think it's only a matter of time before a fully Interstate-class highway becomes necessary between Tulsa and NW Arkansas.

The 26 mile segment of US-412 between the I-44 & US-412 interchange on the East side of Tulsa and the beginning of the Cherokee Turnpike would be relatively easy to upgrade. There's not very many properties too close the highway. The existing expressway is pretty much Interstate-grade; it just has 23 at-grade intersections to modify. The intersections are all crossing roads. No driveways. Some intersections are already ready to upgrade into Interstate quality exits. Other intersections will take more work to upgrade into Interstate exits. Some intersecting roads will just have to be bridged over US-412 without any on/off ramps. Overall it looks similar to some of work that had to be done to US-71 in Missouri to turn it into I-49.

From the East end of the Cherokee Turnpike US-412 requires more work to get into Arkansas. Along with intersections there is a bunch of driveways and properties close to the road. A new terrain bypass may indeed be necessary.

It'd likely be that the east end of the Cherokee Turnpike would likely have to be the start of the bypass around West Siloam and Siloam Springs, I'd bet to the north since things get fairly vertical to the south of both due to the Illinois River.  Just a bend around the airport and pick up the current expressway east of Siloam.
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