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Author Topic: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge  (Read 48647 times)

froggie

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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #50 on: November 18, 2015, 11:59:00 AM »

Theoretically, a rail component to the Great River Bridge would provide some redundancy for when the New Madrid Fault rears its ugly head and impacts the existing Memphis river crossings...
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mgk920

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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #51 on: November 18, 2015, 03:39:02 PM »

I could see a rail component being a very important part of such a crossing - if North American railroads operated on a European and Australian style of 'open access', much like how highways, civil aviation and so forth all operate here.

Mike
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Rick Powell

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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #52 on: November 19, 2015, 06:39:40 PM »

The thing I struggle with for a rail bridge across the Mississippi is that without investment from Class I railroads (the closest of which is UP on the Arkansas side, and CN on the Mississippi side in Greenwood), I don't see it happening. Of course, the I-69 bridge is a pipe dream as it stands. Also, I don't know how much it would benefit cross-country intermodal trains. IF I-69 is ever built in this area and if an intermodal terminal was built near Greenville or Benoit, then it may make both the rail bridge and restoration/upgrade of the former CAGY line between Greenwood and West Point more feasible. It would also require new track between McGehee and the new bridge.

A lot would have to go right before the rail bridge across the MS River is feasible, IMO.

The Creak and Groan (C&G) is actually in better shape than it was in the 70's, at least in the sections that are still operating.  The Great River RR is pretty much impassable in its current condition and it has probably not seen a train in 10 years.  The KCS RR would probably do everything in its power to fight this connection, as a direct competitor to its Meridian Speedway, unless the long rumored merger with CN ever happens.
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rte66man

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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #53 on: November 19, 2015, 10:15:52 PM »

The thing I struggle with for a rail bridge across the Mississippi is that without investment from Class I railroads (the closest of which is UP on the Arkansas side, and CN on the Mississippi side in Greenwood), I don't see it happening. Of course, the I-69 bridge is a pipe dream as it stands. Also, I don't know how much it would benefit cross-country intermodal trains. IF I-69 is ever built in this area and if an intermodal terminal was built near Greenville or Benoit, then it may make both the rail bridge and restoration/upgrade of the former CAGY line between Greenwood and West Point more feasible. It would also require new track between McGehee and the new bridge.

A lot would have to go right before the rail bridge across the MS River is feasible, IMO.

The Creak and Groan (C&G) is actually in better shape than it was in the 70's, at least in the sections that are still operating.  The Great River RR is pretty much impassable in its current condition and it has probably not seen a train in 10 years.  The KCS RR would probably do everything in its power to fight this connection, as a direct competitor to its Meridian Speedway, unless the long rumored merger with CN ever happens.

Off topic, but Rick, where did you hear about a possible KCS/CN merger? 
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Rick Powell

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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #54 on: November 20, 2015, 12:59:07 AM »

The thing I struggle with for a rail bridge across the Mississippi is that without investment from Class I railroads (the closest of which is UP on the Arkansas side, and CN on the Mississippi side in Greenwood), I don't see it happening. Of course, the I-69 bridge is a pipe dream as it stands. Also, I don't know how much it would benefit cross-country intermodal trains. IF I-69 is ever built in this area and if an intermodal terminal was built near Greenville or Benoit, then it may make both the rail bridge and restoration/upgrade of the former CAGY line between Greenwood and West Point more feasible. It would also require new track between McGehee and the new bridge.

A lot would have to go right before the rail bridge across the MS River is feasible, IMO.

The Creak and Groan (C&G) is actually in better shape than it was in the 70's, at least in the sections that are still operating.  The Great River RR is pretty much impassable in its current condition and it has probably not seen a train in 10 years.  The KCS RR would probably do everything in its power to fight this connection, as a direct competitor to its Meridian Speedway, unless the long rumored merger with CN ever happens.

Off topic, but Rick, where did you hear about a possible KCS/CN merger? 
My brother works for KCS and he hears scuttlebutt from upper management every so often.  KCS is mentioned as a target for CP, BNSF and UP at different times, too.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-05-17/kansas-city-southern-on-track-for-takeover-real-m-a
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codyg1985

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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #55 on: November 20, 2015, 06:50:13 AM »

Right now Canadian Pacific is looking to buy Norfolk Southern. That wouldn't impact this project since neither road operates close to this location.
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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #56 on: November 20, 2015, 06:59:14 AM »

The thing I struggle with for a rail bridge across the Mississippi is that without investment from Class I railroads (the closest of which is UP on the Arkansas side, and CN on the Mississippi side in Greenwood), I don't see it happening. Of course, the I-69 bridge is a pipe dream as it stands. Also, I don't know how much it would benefit cross-country intermodal trains. IF I-69 is ever built in this area and if an intermodal terminal was built near Greenville or Benoit, then it may make both the rail bridge and restoration/upgrade of the former CAGY line between Greenwood and West Point more feasible. It would also require new track between McGehee and the new bridge.

A lot would have to go right before the rail bridge across the MS River is feasible, IMO.

The Creak and Groan (C&G) is actually in better shape than it was in the 70's, at least in the sections that are still operating.  The Great River RR is pretty much impassable in its current condition and it has probably not seen a train in 10 years.  The KCS RR would probably do everything in its power to fight this connection, as a direct competitor to its Meridian Speedway, unless the long rumored merger with CN ever happens.

Off topic, but Rick, where did you hear about a possible KCS/CN merger? 
My brother works for KCS and he hears scuttlebutt from upper management every so often.  KCS is mentioned as a target for CP, BNSF and UP at different times, too.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-05-17/kansas-city-southern-on-track-for-takeover-real-m-a

That Bloomburg article seems to be 3 years old. Since then, Mexico has taken their roads back from KCS (after they did all the hard work of repairing them) and now KCS has taken out a poison-pill amount of loans out so that they aren't nearly as attractive to buy.

But something to keep in mind...whoever decides to buyout the KCS will be able to do so under what I call "the old rules of buyout approval". After UP's disasterous buyout of SP & CNW in the late 90s, the STB established new rules and regulations that they will use to approve/deny any Class 1 mergers. However, they excluded the KCS from those new rules & said that any buyout involving them will be determined under the old rules.
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Grzrd

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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #57 on: December 09, 2015, 08:25:08 AM »

The Mississippi River crossing is truly a segment of independent utility, as opposed to many of the porkier pieces.

This article reports that Arkansas highway officials recently told a group in El Dorado that construction of the Great River Bridge is the key to building the porkier pieces in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi, but that Congress will have to foot most of the bill for the bridge:

Quote
Construction of the proposed Great River Bridge near Arkansas City is the key that will unlock construction of Interstate 69 across South Arkansas and North Louisiana.
That was the message Arkansas highway officials delivered to area leaders Monday during a meeting at South Arkansas Community College.
The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department is buying right-of-way for the bridge and 16 miles of highway roadbed between the proposed bridge location on the Mississippi River and the city of McGehee, said Director Scott Bennett. Plans are being prepared for delivery into the hands of a successful bidder.
There’s only one problem – the state doesn’t have its $900 million share for bridge and approach costs. The State of Mississippi doesn’t have its $300 million, either.
Federal aid will be essential to build the bridge, which represents approximately a third of the total estimated cost of completing Interstate 69 in the two states, said the parade of highway leaders.
Congress will have to be convinced that the Great River Bridge and the completion of Interstate 69 goes beyond the benefit to Arkansas, Mississippi and the six other states that are part of the highway corridor from the Great Lakes to the Rio Grande, they said.

There are factors working in favor of the project. The most important is the expansion of the Panama Canal, which will make possible the ocean shipment of more goods to and from Asia while bypassing Pacific ports. Most of these goods will pass through Gulf of Mexico ports, and be moved by truck through the southern and central United States.
Truck traffic on interstate highways in the South is already heavy. Interstate 69 meets the need for a north-south route to relieve east-west truck traffic.
Also, federal transportation programs are leaning toward providing more funds for freight movement.
Arkansas Highway Commissioner Robert Moore told the audience that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease."
“When you want something done you have got to speak up to Congress and use every resource to make noise. If you work hard and have vision it can be done,” Moore said.

Moore acknowledged other priorities for highway funding in Arkansas, such as Interstate 49 in western Arkansas, and a proposal to widen Interstate 30 through Little Rock.
Construction of the Great River Bridge and the resulting Interstate 69 would accomplish the same goals as the Little Rock project – reducing freeway congestion and speeding east-west traffic through Arkansas -- for roughly the same price. It would also spur economic development in a part of Arkansas that needs it
, Moore said.
State Rep. Matthew Shepherd (R-El Dorado) said that the task of securing federal funding for the bridge is daunting, “But we must raise the issue,” he said ....
Bossier City, LA Mayor Lo Walker said that until progress is made on the Great River Bridge, potential I-69 traffic will bypass South Arkansas and North Louisiana.
Former AHTD director Dan Flowers asked Dr. David Rankin, chairman of the Golden Triangle Economic Development Council, to work with counterparts at the Southeast Arkansas Cornerstone Coalition as advocates for Great River Bridge funding.

The direct comparison of the cost of the Great River Bridge and I-69 in Arkansas to the cost of the I-30 widening in Little Rock is an interesting angle.

edit

A video of the meeting has been posted on Youtube:

« Last Edit: December 09, 2015, 09:45:51 PM by Grzrd »
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Grzrd

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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #58 on: December 12, 2015, 05:19:23 PM »

This article reports that Arkansas highway officials recently told a group in El Dorado that construction of the Great River Bridge is the key to building the porkier pieces in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi, but that Congress will have to foot most of the bill for the bridge ....
A video of the meeting has been posted on Youtube:

The major financial problem with the current $1.3 billion estimated cost for the I-69 Mississippi River bridge is that a bridge project cannot be broken into smaller segments. Arkansas and Mississippi need a large chunk of federal assistance to build the bridge.  At approximately the 19:00 mark of the above video, Bennett points out that Section 6021 ("Future Interstate Study") of the FAST highway bill (p. 272/490 of pdf) provides for a three-year study of the interstate system to upgrade and restore that system.  Since Bennett describes the I-69 Mississippi River bridge's nationally important purpose as "Spanning a River and Connecting a Nation" (at approximately the 40:40 mark), he expresses hope that the Future Interstate Study could eventually lead to the needed big chunk of federal assistance to build the bridge.

Section 6021 reads in part as follows:

Quote
SEC. 6021. FUTURE INTERSTATE STUDY.
(a) FUTURE INTERSTATE SYSTEM STUDY.—Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall enter into an agreement with the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies to conduct a study on the actions needed to upgrade and restore the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways to its role as a premier system that meets the growing and shifting demands of the 21st century ....
(d) CONSIDERATIONS.—In carrying out the study, the Transportation Research Board shall determine the need for reconstruction and improvement of the Interstate System by considering
(1) future demands on transportation infrastructure determined for national planning purposes, including commercial and private traffic flows to serve future economic activity and growth; ....
(4) those National Highway System routes that should be added to the existing Interstate System to more efficiently serve national traffic flows; and
(5) the resources necessary to maintain and improve the Interstate System, including the resources required to upgrade the National Highway System routes identified in paragraph (4) to Interstate standards ....
(f) REPORT.—Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Transportation Research Board shall submit to the Secretary, the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate, and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives a report on the results of the study conducted under this section.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2015, 08:39:20 PM by Grzrd »
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froggie

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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #59 on: December 12, 2015, 08:52:21 PM »

Quote
Interstate 69 meets the need for a north-south route to relieve east-west truck traffic.

Do these people even listen to themselves?  If east-west traffic is the problem, you don't build a north-south connector...you either build a new east-west route or improve your existing routes.

Furthermore, the existing east-west routes are really not all that bad, especially in the rural areas.  What they should be doing is, instead of blowing money on I-69, use that money to improve the urban bottlenecks that are causing a far greater problem for freight traffic.
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Wayward Memphian

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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #60 on: December 12, 2015, 09:44:00 PM »

Quote
Interstate 69 meets the need for a north-south route to relieve east-west truck traffic.

Do these people even listen to themselves?  If east-west traffic is the problem, you don't build a north-south connector...you either build a new east-west route or improve your existing routes.

Furthermore, the existing east-west routes are really not all that bad, especially in the rural areas.  What they should be doing is, instead of blowing money on I-69, use that money to improve the urban bottlenecks that are causing a far greater problem for freight traffic.

Have you ever traversed I-40 in the afternoons between Memphis and Little Rock? It's a nigbtmare . The thinking goes some of the truck traffic will ditch I-30 and choose I-69 snice a lot of it originates in Texas.  The truck traffic isn't nearly as bad west of Little Rock on I-40.
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froggie

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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #61 on: December 13, 2015, 09:48:31 AM »

Define nightmare.  Does traffic routinely roll below 45 MPH?  Or are regular drivers just mad because they can't pass the trucks?

Urban areas are still the primary freight bottlenecks.  The money would be far better spent upgrading those.  And if 40 is really that bad, spending the money on 40 would be far more cost-effective than building 69.
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Wayward Memphian

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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #62 on: December 13, 2015, 08:00:16 PM »

Define nightmare.  Does traffic routinely roll below 45 MPH?  Or are regular drivers just mad because they can't pass the trucks?

Urban areas are still the primary freight bottlenecks.  The money would be far better spent upgrading those.  And if 40 is really that bad, spending the money on 40 would be far more cost-effective than building 69.


Yep, you have no ideal of what I-40 is like, not mention the need for 4 lane divideds for economic reasons  in counties so poor you can't quite comprend up in Vermont.

Any project on I-40 would involve a major bridge of over the White River(it's not the Mississippi but it's a biggie) which at major flood stage has shut down I- 40 not to mention only 5 lanes each way over the Mississippi at Memphis.

Now if you came at me with spend that money on a third bridge at Memphis to route traffic around Memphis, I'd listen. I'm not going to speak on the needs of any part of this country I don't frequent because I don't know them.

Lower White River at I 40 during major flood stage
« Last Edit: December 13, 2015, 08:06:25 PM by Wayward Memphian »
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froggie

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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #63 on: December 13, 2015, 11:08:43 PM »

Quote
Yep, you have no ideal of what I-40 is like, not mention the need for 4 lane divideds for economic reasons  in counties so poor you can't quite comprend up in Vermont.

You obviously don't know my background.  I spent 7 years of my Navy career in Mississippi, so I am quite aware of the poverty in that region.  And just because I now live in Vermont doesn't mean that I still don't see poverty around me.

I have also traveled/studied enough to know that a 4-lane highway is not a panacea for economic recovery.  Plenty of areas in the Deep South that sit right along major Interstate highways, yet are just as poor as the Delta counties.
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Wayward Memphian

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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #64 on: December 15, 2015, 10:14:48 AM »

Quote
Yep, you have no ideal of what I-40 is like, not mention the need for 4 lane divideds for economic reasons  in counties so poor you can't quite comprend up in Vermont.

You obviously don't know my background.  I spent 7 years of my Navy career in Mississippi, so I am quite aware of the poverty in that region.  And just because I now live in Vermont doesn't mean that I still don't see poverty around me.

I have also traveled/studied enough to know that a 4-lane highway is not a panacea for economic recovery.  Plenty of areas in the Deep South that sit right along major Interstate highways, yet are just as poor as the Delta counties.

It doesn't hurt, especially being on what would be a Nafta route but the main issue is safety in my book, I travel that stretch of road numerous times a year, I experience trips with more back ups  than with out and I'm talking the come to complete stop kind, sometimes it's from road construction, sometimes accidents. They shear volume of trucks makes it not one governed truck getting around another governed truck the problem but that's all there is it's constant, never ending line of trucks(I've counted as many as 27 trucks in a row) consistently whipping out in front of traffic to pass the two or three in front of it causing traffic to check up often down to 40 or 45 miles per hour. It never ends for two hours and then it converges with all the trucks on I-55. I leads to major aggressive driving in some to others being overly cautious and going below the posted speed in the left lane. Any time during the day during the week, it's horrible. If it rains, holy s#&t, you'll never see  more than 20 yards ahead of you.  It is truly one of the most crowded (truck wise) stretches of road in America.
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Wayward Memphian

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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #66 on: December 17, 2015, 05:59:35 PM »


http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/freight_analysis/nat_freight_stats/nhsavglhft2011.htm

Like I said, if you don't drive, you haven't a clue and the graph shoes it's over run.

Also notice how the I-49 segment from I-40 to NWA had already been highlighted by red, now imagine if the missing pieces were in place. The map also shows what was then non interstate portions of I-49. You can easily see how I-69 would relieve 1-30, I-40,and I-65 with the southwest to northeast onslaught of frieght from Texas and it's ports and Mexico.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2015, 06:10:32 PM by Wayward Memphian »
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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #67 on: December 17, 2015, 08:18:08 PM »

Also notice how the I-49 segment from I-40 to NWA had already been highlighted by red ... The map also shows what was then non interstate portions of I-49.

It's highlighted in red because it's an interstate highway. The thickness of the line indicates the amount of traffic, not the color.
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CanesFan27

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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #68 on: December 17, 2015, 09:32:03 PM »

The map also shows why so many Chamber of Commerces and local governments  believe that having an interstate shield brings business.  Also a hotly debated topic here
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seicer

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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #69 on: December 17, 2015, 10:29:51 PM »

Wayward Memphian, you can go a long way here without being a dick to every person.
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codyg1985

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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #70 on: December 21, 2015, 07:22:38 AM »

It would be interesting to do a cost comparison of widening the existing routes (I-30, I-40, and I-65) versus building the remaining segments of I-69.
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rte66man

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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #71 on: December 23, 2015, 12:06:20 AM »

It would be interesting to do a cost comparison of widening the existing routes (I-30, I-40, and I-65) versus building the remaining segments of I-69.

Widening it how much?  I believe 40 between Little Rock and Memphis needs at least 8 lanes.  It should also include a 3rd Memphis bridge to avoid all that traffic piling through the middle of Memphis.  I would tie that to getting 69 finished in Tennessee, then forgetting the rest of it.
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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #72 on: December 23, 2015, 12:40:50 AM »

These estimates from five years ago suggest the cost per mile of rural freeway widening from 4 to 6 lanes is around $3.5 million. Obviously the St. Francis River bridge would be more. Realistically I don't see 8 lanes happening except maybe in the environs of West Memphis and through Forrest City.

A new location 4-lane rural freeway like I-69 is estimated at $3.5 million per mile as well. (AHTD's own estimates are substantially higher, but they don't present any widening estimates for freeways - judging from their list, though, the expense of going from 4 to 6 lanes would probably be around the same as a new-location 4-lane freeway.)

I don't think I-69 would relieve enough of the traffic on I-30 and I-40 to say widening the latter could substitute for the former, or vice versa, especially without any connectivity between the two in Arkansas. But when it comes to networks, more redundancy is almost always better than not having it.
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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #73 on: December 23, 2015, 03:57:01 PM »

I'm skeptical I-69 would relieve much traffic, if any at all, from the I-35, I-30 and I-40 corridors. The proposed I-69 route, as it is planned through Arkansas and Mississippi, is so freaking crooked the extra distance needed to build it will kill any driving time savings versus staying on I-35, I-30 and I-40. Those older, existing Interstate routes are a lot more direct.

Then there's the issue of services along the route. It will take at least several years, bare minimum, for many of the kinds of businesses one expects to find on an established Interstate route to get built up along new sections of I-69. Some parts of the road may remain with little if any new business development.

If I was calling the shots about road funding in Arkansas I'd put a lot more emphasis on getting I-49 built as well as improving I-40. The truck traffic on I-40 is no joke. The Google Earth imagery along I-40 between Little Rock and Memphis shows lots and lots of trucks. If widening I-40 to 4 lanes in each direction between Little Rock and Fort Smith is too much to ask it ought to at least have 3 lanes in each direction. That seems to be the minimum on the re-built I-35 between Dallas and Austin.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 03:59:28 PM by Bobby5280 »
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Re: I-69 Mississippi River Bridge
« Reply #74 on: December 23, 2015, 05:21:41 PM »

Then there's the issue of services along the route. It will take at least several years, bare minimum, for many of the kinds of businesses one expects to find on an established Interstate route to get built up along new sections of I-69. Some parts of the road may remain with little if any new business development.

Only a problem once you leave the US 59 corridor. Even then, the route is not completely barren. At I-49, travelers could take I-49 to Shreveport and rejoin I-69 via I-20. the route will pass near Minden and El Dorado. The route will pass near a few towns as it crosses the Mississippi River and pass through Mississippi. And look at I-49 north of Alexandria; the exit at LA 6 has become an oasis in a service desert. I figure that some towns along the I-69 will rise to the challenge and provide needed services.
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