Dedication held for Arkansas Hwy 549 Loop to be connected to I-49
TEXARKANA, AR (KSLA) - A major highway construction project in the ArkLaTex is nearing completion. Now, officials are anticipating an economic boost from what will soon be part of I-49.
Workers are putting the finishing touches on the Highway 549 Loop around Texarkana, Arkansas. Although the loop will not be officially opened for another week, the multi-million dollar project was dedicated Tuesday morning. "It is not every day that were are able to cut a ribbon to open a $150 million dollar highway. So this is a really, really special day," says Arkansas Highway Department Director Scott Bennet.
One of those working to get this project underway was Former Arkansas State Highway Commissioner Prissy Hickerson. "The construction alone has pumped so much money in our local economy through all these years and the completion is going to spur economic development all along the corridor," says Hickerson.
The new section of Highway 549 extends from Arkansas Boulevard across I-30 to Highway 71 just north of Texarkana. Right now, Highway 549 goes through Miller County, Arkansas, but when the final 4.6 miles of construction connects with I-49 in Louisiana, 549 will become I-49. "…so within a year or a year and a half, all of Miller County's section of future I-49 will be done. That is a major accomplishment folks and we should all be so proud of it," says Hickerson.
Work on the Texarkana Loop started back in 2006. Now, four construction projects later the first group of motorists took a ceremonial drive on 549.
Arkansas Highway officials say this new eight mile loop is expected to be open for traffic by Wednesday, May 8th.
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