Interstate 69 in Arkansas
|Length:||185 mi (298 km)|
|Status:||One section (Monticello Bypass) under construction; remainder of route in various stages of design and land acquisition|
|South end:||I-69 at Louisiana state line|
|North end:||I-69 / US 278 at Mississippi state line|
Interstate 69 (I-69) is a proposed Interstate Highway that will pass through the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Arkansas. The only section of Future I-69 that is currently under construction is the 8.5-mile (13.7 km) eastern leg of the Monticello Bypass.
I-69 has been divided into a number of sections of independent utility (SIUs).
SIU 12 (Arkansas portion)
I-69 will enter Arkansas on the Charles W. Dean Bridge south of Arkansas City, then continue west to U.S. 65 near McGehee; U.S. 278 will also be rerouted there from its present crossing with U.S. 82 at the Greenville Bridge. This is the western portion of SIU 12; the remaining portion consists of the east end of the Dean Bridge, near Greenville, Mississippi. Environmental studies for this segment, including the Dean Bridge have been completed and the FHWA issued a Record of Decision approving the route through SIU 12 in 2004.
On October 15, 2006, the FHWA directed the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) to begin land acquisition for I-69 from U.S. 65 to the west bank of the Mississippi River where the Dean Bridge will be built. The first phase of this section was funded for fiscal year 2010 in AHTD's 2010-2013 Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP).
U.S. 278 will leave I-69 near McGehee and rejoin its existing routing. I-69 will continue on a separate alignment to Monticello, where it will meet the Interstate 530 extension, then bypass Wilmar and Warren to the south, and turn to the southwest, crossing the Ouachita River and running North of El Dorado near Louann to meet U.S. Route 82 west of El Dorado between Magnolia and El Dorado.
The Final Environmental Impact Statement on SIU 13 was completed in April 2006, and the Federal Highway Administration issued a Record of Decision approving the FEIS on May 25, 2006. This 103-mile (166 km) segment is currently in the final design phase, with construction expected to cost $784 million. Arkansas further divides SIU 13 into several smaller segments. Construction on the first leg of SIU-13, the 8.5-mile (13.7 km) eastern leg of the Monticello Bypass between US-425 and US-278 east of Monticello, began in November 2011. In the 2013-2016 STIP, AHTD plans start constructing the 11-mile (18 km) western section of the Monticello Bypass from US-425 to US-278 east of Wilmar, including the planned I-69/I-530 interchange in 2017. Additionally, Arkansas submitted a $25 million FASTLane grant application to the Federal Highway Administration in May 2016 to continue design and right-of-way acquisition for the 25-mile (40 km) section of I-69 between Monticello and McGehee.
From U.S. 82, I-69 will continue to the southwest, crossing the Louisiana state line near Haynesville, Louisiana. Arkansas and Louisiana officials continue to work on the draft EIS for this portion of the route, with some changes being made with public inputs.
Segment 28 will extend Interstate 530 from its current terminus in Pine Bluff to a planned interchange with I-69 south of Monticello. This segment has been divided into several smaller sections, with work proceeding at various rates on each. In June 2006 a 4-mile (6.4 km) section of the I-530 extension opened to traffic between Highway 35 and US 278 near Wilmar. The remaining portions of SIU 28 are in various stages of land acquisition and construction. Objections from the community of Pinebergen has forced planners to re-consider the routing of the northernmost segment of the I-530 extension, delaying its construction. Public meetings were conducted in late 2006 and early 2007, and the alignment of the north end of the I-530 extension was shifted slightly. Construction on the interchange where the I-530 extension will tie into the existing I-530 near Ohio Street on the south side of Pine Bluff began on October 29, 2007. On March 8, 2008 the Arkansas Highway Department awarded an $11.8 million contract to T.J. Lambrecht Construction, Inc. of Joliet, Illinois, to construct 10 miles (16 km) of the I-530 extension through Jefferson, Lincoln, and Cleveland Counties.
- Arkansas given OK to Acquire Rights for Future I-69, KATV Channel 7, October 15, 2006[dead link]
- Arkansas 2010-2013 Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan
- "I-69 Route In South Arkansas Approved. KTHV TV, Little Rock, May 25, 2006". thv11.com. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
- "I-69 corridor still priority in Arkansas, officials say".
- "New Arkansas Highway To Be Dedicated. KTHV TV - Little Rock, June 5, 2006". thv11.com. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
- "Interstate 530 Plans In Neutral. KTHV TV - Little Rock, February 20, 2006". thv11.com. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
- "I-69 Connector Interchange Construction Kickoff Set for Monday, Arkansas Business, October 26, 2007". Arkansas Business. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
- State HWY Commission Plans Work On I-530, Monticello Live, March 8, 2008[dead link]