October 28, 2021
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The governors of Missouri (above at right) and Arkansas (above at left) recently hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the final segment of the I-49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector.

[Above photo via the Missouri Governor’s Office]

While the final segment measures just five miles, the completed I-49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector stretches 290 miles between Kansas City, MO, and Fort Smith, AR.

It is also the final link in the 1,600-mile-long I-49 and I-29 corridor stretching from North Dakota to Louisiana. That corridor now connects six states in total: Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota. The connector will also create an additional link to New Orleans area ports in the Gulf of Mexico for the transportation of various goods and services to and from states in the heart of America.

Gov. Parson. Photo via the Missouri Governor’s Office.

“We thank our transportation partners here in Missouri and across the state line in Arkansas for completing this historic project and providing a vital connection for our communities,” said Governor Mike Parson (R) said in a statement.

“This high-quality roadway will help promote tourism, business investment, and workforce opportunities between our two great states,” he added. “From roadways to railways and from broadband to wastewater, without reliable infrastructure our economies cannot grow. It’s not often we get to partner with our neighbors on such important and impactful infrastructure projects like this one, but we look forward to additional opportunities to work together in the future.”

Missouri programmed partial funding for the connector, and the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Council received a $25 million federal grant that allowed the Missouri Department of Transportation to complete the Missouri portion of the project.

Photo by the Missouri Governor’s Office.

Patrick McKenna, Missouri DOT director, and Lorie Tudor, director of the Arkansas Department of Transportation, joined their respective governors at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“Arkansas, Missouri, and federal transportation officials have discussed the necessity of the I-49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector for more than 25 years,” said McKenna.

“This success wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the hard work of our team, as well as the support from our legislators and federal officials through the years,” he added.

editor@aashto.org

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