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Author Topic: I-49 in Arkansas  (Read 720768 times)

US71

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1450 on: July 14, 2015, 12:24:52 PM »

Southbound 549 between Barling and  Ft Smith opened just after 10:30. Governor Hutchinson and his entourage were the first to drive the new roadway. Northbound was still closed at 11am and state police were stopping anyone driving around the barricades.
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Grzrd

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1451 on: July 14, 2015, 12:59:21 PM »

Southbound 549 between Barling and  Ft Smith opened just after 10:30. Governor Hutchinson and his entourage were the first to drive the new roadway. Northbound was still closed at 11am and state police were stopping anyone driving around the barricades.

Thanks for the report. On to Northbound and then on to the bridge!



I saw where the road appears to be now striped now between Hwy 72 (south end) and route 34 (north end, straight west of where Glasgow meets Highlands) on the future Bella Vista Bypass.  Anyone heard when that section is supposed to open?  Thank you in advance.

AHTD's July 13, 2015 presentation to the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce indicates that the section between Hwy 72 and County Road 34 has been completed (page 15/31 of pdf):



edit

AHTD recently posted about the opening of this section in another thread:

We have opened the next segment of the Bella Vista Bypass.
http://www.arkansashighways.com/forums/SH_549_BVB_Signing_Memo.pdf
We'll schedule a ribbon cutting for sometime in August.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 09:05:13 PM by Grzrd »
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Henry

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1452 on: July 14, 2015, 01:53:52 PM »

At least there is progress on the BVB, however slow it may come.
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intelati49

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1453 on: July 14, 2015, 02:12:29 PM »

At least there is progress on the BVB, however slow it may come.

Looks like FY 2019 for MO... sigh

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1454 on: July 14, 2015, 03:49:34 PM »

Thanks, Grzrd and US71.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1455 on: July 14, 2015, 07:41:21 PM »

At least there is progress on the BVB, however slow it may come.

Looks like FY 2019 for MO... sigh

They may be able to scrape up some additional funding depending on what Arkansas decides to do on their side, but obviously they aren't in a hurry.
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US71

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1456 on: July 14, 2015, 08:14:21 PM »

Northbound is open. Probably just took a while for AHTD to get all the barricades down.

BTW: I noticed a couple ramps at the south end are asphalt, but some are concrete.  Also looks like SB 49 to SB 71 may eventually be a flyover ramp.  AHTD: can you confirm my suspicions?
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1457 on: July 15, 2015, 04:53:31 AM »

At least there is progress on the BVB, however slow it may come.

Looks like FY 2019 for MO... sigh

They may be able to scrape up some additional funding depending on what Arkansas decides to do on their side, but obviously they aren't in a hurry.

It has turned into "We're waiting for AHTD to make the first move" to "We don't have two pennies to rub together." I would be surprised if it is let in '19 actually.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2015, 09:02:07 AM by US71 »
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Grzrd

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1458 on: July 15, 2015, 09:30:05 AM »

One of the articles incorrectly states that AHTD has launched its "build the bridge campaign." This is not correct. That campaign is a local effort.
Our current estimate for this facility is about $350 to $400 million for a 13-mile Interstate facility between I-40 and State Highway 22 with an Arkansas River crossing. This is ballpark at best. We have no engineering into this other than we know the corridor. High level estimates are often ballparked for various presentations, etc. that require planning to provide numbers.
One article incorrectly stated we will soon begin a feasibility study. The person quoted probably just used the wrong term. We will need to complete an EIS and at this time we don't have that programmed.
On to Northbound and then on to the bridge! .... AHTD's July 13, 2015 presentation to the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce
Northbound is open.

This article quotes the chairman of the Arkansas Senate’s Revenue and Tax committee that now is the time for "state officials [AHTD?]" to get the engineering and environmental groundwork in place for the Arkansas River bridge:

Quote
Tim Allen, president and CEO of the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce ....
THE BRIDGE AND COMPLETING I-49

Two sections of I-49 in western Arkansas are without designated funding or engineering work. The shortest is the 15-mile section between the I-40/I-49 interchange near Alma and across the Arkansas River into Barling. That work, according to recent AHTD estimates, will cost in today’s dollars around $350 million. That’s about $23.3 million per mile ....
In an interview after Tuesday’s opening, Allen told The City Wire that “getting over the river is the next target.” He said Fort Smith area leaders have reached out to the Northwest Arkansas Council to help lobby state and federal officials for funding.
“It’s imperative that we get over the river and connect that (Alma interchange with I-49 and I-40) with this. ... We’re engaged in an early effort with the Northwest Arkansas Council and Scott Bennett to move in that direction,” Allen said.
Sen. Jake Files, R-Fort Smith, and chairman of the Arkansas Senate’s Revenue and Tax committee
, attended Tuesday’s event. He said “collaboration is critical” with Northwest Arkansas and state and federal officials in order to complete I-49 through western Arkansas.
“Fort Smith has a lot to gain by linking up to Northwest Arkansas, and this would be a specific example where we both see it as mutually beneficial,” Files said.
He said it is important for state officials to “get as much groundwork in place” – engineering, route studies, environmental work – so when the highway funding “debacle in Washington” is resolved, the bridge and other sections of I-49 will be “ready to execute.” He said one reason the section through Chaffee Crossing received stimulus funding was because it was more “shovel ready” than other projects around the state and nation.

Here is a good visual of the Arkansas River bridge section from AHTD's above-linked presentation to the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce (p. 10/31 of pdf):



It may be time to start an EIS for the bridge.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2015, 09:32:33 AM by Grzrd »
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Henry

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1459 on: July 15, 2015, 12:02:59 PM »

Wow! I never knew how close it is to the existing I-540.
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O Tamandua

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1460 on: July 15, 2015, 03:09:42 PM »

Wow! I never knew how close it is to the existing I-540.

Henry, indeed, but that's a bit deceptive.  The distance doesn't look like much, but BOY is there a lot of development now on Rogers Ave. between I-549 and I-49, pretty much all between the River and U.S. 71.  These Chaffee Crossing folks have sold a lot of property, and some of what they've sold (the new ArcBest HQ, the future Osteopathic (and other medical sciences) College, etc.) is very significant.  And that's before any connections to other I-49 routes are built.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1461 on: July 15, 2015, 09:14:47 PM »

Why east of Kibler as opposed to a more direct route?
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1462 on: July 16, 2015, 11:05:44 AM »

Is there a compelling reason why I-540 wasn't integrated into the I-49 corridor? I'm not terribly familiar with the area, but it looks like there is available ROW for upgrades and added capacity. (Frankly, it looks like 540 is over-due for an upgrade.)

The new alignment seems like a redundant approach which won't provide much intra-city connectivity and is already driving sprawl.
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codyg1985

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1463 on: July 16, 2015, 11:15:30 AM »

Is there a compelling reason why I-540 wasn't integrated into the I-49 corridor? I'm not terribly familiar with the area, but it looks like there is available ROW for upgrades and added capacity. (Frankly, it looks like 540 is over-due for an upgrade.)

The new alignment seems like a redundant approach which won't provide much intra-city connectivity and is already driving sprawl.

From what I can tell, I-540 is fairly busy through Fort Smith. It would definitely need widening, and either widening the Arkansas River bridge or building a whole new span would be necessary. It may have also been eliminated in the EIS for some reason, maybe too much of an impact to existing homes where I-49 would have to diverge from I-540.
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Grzrd

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1464 on: July 16, 2015, 11:54:48 AM »

Is there a compelling reason why I-540 wasn't integrated into the I-49 corridor? I'm not terribly familiar with the area, but it looks like there is available ROW for upgrades and added capacity. (Frankly, it looks like 540 is over-due for an upgrade.)
The new alignment seems like a redundant approach which won't provide much intra-city connectivity and is already driving sprawl.
From what I can tell, I-540 is fairly busy through Fort Smith. It would definitely need widening, and either widening the Arkansas River bridge or building a whole new span would be necessary. It may have also been eliminated in the EIS for some reason, maybe too much of an impact to existing homes where I-49 would have to diverge from I-540.

From the DeQueen to I-40 Final Environmental Impact Statement ("FEIS") regarding a possible I-540 alignment (pp. 97-98/327 of pdf; pp. 2-56, 2-57 of document):




Their word: impracticable



the Future I-49 corridor is east of this section of I-540. A map on page 23/36 of the Executive Summary of the US 71 Relocation From Dequeen to I-40 Final Environmental Impact Statement pdf shows the location of this section of I-540 relative to the proposed route of Future I-49.  If I interpret the map correctly, it looks like the long-range plan is to build a "spur" from the southern section of I-540 to connect with Future I-49 just south of the current US 71 (which, along with I-40, would create a possible I-x49 loop)
(above quote from Improving I-540 at Fort Smith thread)
there is a proposed spur off 540 (in the vicinity of Greenwood Rd/AR 45) that will eventually connect to I-49

Here's the map of the proposed I-540 "southern spur" referenced above that would connect to I-49:


The above map shows the rejected I-540 alignment that would have connected to the I-49 corridor. I think that, at the time I made the above post, I misinterpreted that alignment as a proposed southern connection of I-540 to the I-49 selected alignment.  If so, were it to displace 36 businesses and 102 houses 17 to 18 years ago, then how many businesses and houses would it displace today? Perhaps some (most?) of the displacements would have resulted from widening the existing I-540; if so (it does say that the displacements are from U.S. 71 to the I-540/ I-40 interchange), maybe a standalone I-540 southern connection to I-49 could be feasible.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2015, 11:19:17 PM by Grzrd »
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Grzrd

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1465 on: July 17, 2015, 05:42:41 PM »

The above map shows the rejected I-540 alignment that would have connected to the I-49 corridor. I think that, at the time I made the above post, I misinterpreted that alignment as a proposed southern connection of I-540 to the I-49 selected alignment.  If so, were it to displace 36 businesses and 102 houses 17 to 18 years ago, then how many businesses and houses would it displace today? Perhaps some (most?) of the displacements would have resulted from widening the existing I-540; if so (it does say that the displacements are from U.S. 71 to the I-540/ I-40 interchange), maybe a standalone I-540 southern connection to I-49 could be feasible.

FWIW I looked at Appendix B of the FEIS - Major Investment Study ("MIS") (pp. 6-67/415 of pdf) and its conclusions were based on widening I-540 to eight lanes (p. 63 of pdf):





Why east of Kibler as opposed to a more direct route?
DeQueen to I-40 Final Environmental Impact Statement ("FEIS")

The FEIS indicates that the selected alignment was preferred by the Kibler community, that it would take the fewest number of houses, that it would allow Kibler to have an interchange, and that it would have the least impact on wetlands.

Regarding community input (p. 100/327 of pdf; p. 2-59 of document):



From a chart showing the basis for the selected alignment (p. 102/327 of pdf: p. 2-61 of document):

« Last Edit: July 17, 2015, 09:41:39 PM by Grzrd »
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Grzrd

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1466 on: July 19, 2015, 10:50:56 AM »

Perhaps some (most?) of the displacements would have resulted from widening the existing I-540; if so (it does say that the displacements are from U.S. 71 to the I-540/ I-40 interchange), maybe a standalone I-540 southern connection to I-49 could be feasible.

This article, primarily about efforts to build a new mall at the north end of the recently opened AR 549/ Future I-49, also reports that Fort Smith might annex the area around the intersection of US 71 with the south end of AR 549 in order to encourage development (and reap the tax benefits):

Quote
State officials and developers expect the opening of Arkansas 549 -- part of the future Interstate 49 -- to be a catalyst for development along the highway's corridor ....
Larry Webb of Hot Springs has been working with landowners to develop a mall next to the northern tip of the highway at Barling.
He said potential tenants -- including large anchor companies -- liked the location, but the idea was put on hold because no one wanted to commit to the project until there was traffic moving on the highway, he said ....
Webb said Friday that he expects to have mall tenants begin signing up within a month.
"I think now that it's open, you're going to see an explosion of development not just along the interstate, but adjacent to it," Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority Director Ivy Owen said ....
Owen said developers and companies have bought land on all four corners of the intersection of Massard Road and Chad Colley Boulevard, major streets at Chaffee Crossing less than a quarter-mile from Arkansas 549.
Now that the highway is open, Owen said he expects the development on those corners to begin. Planned for the intersection are mixed commercial and residential uses, a restaurant and a bank.
"I think that's the kind of land use potentials we're going to see," said Wally Bailey, director of the Development Services Department with the city of Fort Smith.
Bailey was referring to the potential for development at the intersection of Arkansas 549 with U.S. 71 at the southern end of the highway section. He said city leaders are considering beginning the process to annex 875 acres there because of the potential for development.

In a memorandum to city directors last week, Bailey wrote that one of the advantages of annexation would be to extend city services -- water, sewer, police and fire protection -- to developers as they plan new projects.
In the memo, Bailey wrote that most of the property owners in that area favor being annexed into the city. The city has taken no action on annexation, but he wrote that the matter is ripe for action by the board.

If the expected development does take place, then an I-540 southern connection to I-49, already a pipe dream*, would become even more unlikely as ROW costs would undoubtedly steadily increase.

edit

*
Appendix B of the FEIS - Major Investment Study ("MIS") (pp. 6-67/415 of pdf) indicates that the MIS Working Group recommended that an I-540 Action Plan be developed in conjunction with development of the I-49 selected alignment, and that part of the Action Plan should consider the connectivity between I-540 and the High Priority Corridor [I-49 selected alignment] (p. 60/415 of pdf):



However, twenty years later, I do not see an indication of such a connection in the December, 2014 Future Fort Smith Comprehensive Plan.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2015, 02:44:21 PM by Grzrd »
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robbones

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1467 on: July 19, 2015, 11:29:05 AM »

Northbound is open. Probably just took a while for AHTD to get all the barricades down.

BTW: I noticed a couple ramps at the south end are asphalt, but some are concrete.  Also looks like SB 49 to SB 71 may eventually be a flyover ramp.  AHTD: can you confirm my suspicions?
I am going to speculate that the asphalt ramps are temporary until the flyover ramps are built. I finally got to drive it.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1468 on: July 21, 2015, 01:24:12 PM »

Thought you all might enjoy reading the signing memo:

http://www.arkansashighways.com/forums/SH_549_Signing_Memo.pdf

Enjoy!
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1469 on: July 24, 2015, 02:52:18 AM »

Hey guys,

Is there a project map of the Mena bypass somewhere?  I've been searching for it, but coming up empty.  The closest I could find is the map that shows the exit numbers through Polk and Scott counties.

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Grzrd

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1470 on: July 24, 2015, 05:21:18 PM »

DeQueen to I-40 Final Environmental Impact Statement ("FEIS")
Is there a project map of the Mena bypass somewhere?

If department AHTD has done some preliminary engineering on the Mena bypass, then I hope forum member AHTD will post the current plans.  Until that time, the FEIS does a good job of showing the route of the selected alignment.

The FEIS sets forth the basis for the Mena-area selected alignment (in particular segments D-E through G-H) in a chart (p. 102/327 of pdf; p. 2-61 of document):



The FEIS has nine maps that show the selected alignment from DeQueen to I-40 (pp. 83-91 of pdf; Exh. 2-4 of document).  For example, here is a snip of two maps that show segments D-E through F-G of the selected alignment in the Mena area (pp. 85-86 of pdf; Exh. 2-4 of document):




Here is a snip from a table of proposed interchanges for the selected alignment from DeQueen to I-40 (p. 93/327 of pdf; p. 2-52 of document):



Would the "Mena Bypass" be considered the segment from the Hwy. 246 interchange to the County Road 70 interchange?
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1471 on: July 25, 2015, 01:35:52 PM »

I will assume that the Mena Bypass would be 2-lane as well?
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1472 on: July 25, 2015, 07:07:07 PM »

I will assume that the Mena Bypass would be 2-lane as well?

I don't think so since the section they opened in the Fort Smith area is 4 lanes (2 each way).  Bella Vista is only 2 lanes because of Missouri dragging their heals to connect to it.

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1473 on: July 26, 2015, 03:55:27 PM »

I will assume that the Mena Bypass would be 2-lane as well?

I don't think so since the section they opened in the Fort Smith area is 4 lanes (2 each way).  Bella Vista is only 2 lanes because of Missouri dragging their heals to connect to it.

The segment of I-69 current under construction around Monticello as well as the AR 530 corridor are also being built initially as two lanes, so it would not surprise me if any new segments of I-49 are built initially with two lanes just so it gets built.
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US71

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #1474 on: July 26, 2015, 06:41:38 PM »

I will assume that the Mena Bypass would be 2-lane as well?

I don't think so since the section they opened in the Fort Smith area is 4 lanes (2 each way).  Bella Vista is only 2 lanes because of Missouri dragging their heals to connect to it.

But Arkansas had more money 10 years ago.
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