Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (L) and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson joined together at the Missouri-Arkansas state line for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the I-49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector.
On Sept. 30, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson joined together at the Missouri-Arkansas state line for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the I-49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector. The connector includes the final 5 mi. of the I-49 and I-29 corridor that stretches from North Dakota to Louisiana.
"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," Parson said. "From Kansas City to Fort Smith, travelers will have safe and efficient travel options. This high-quality roadway will help promote tourism, business investment and workforce opportunities between our two great states."
Missouri programmed partial funding for the connector, and the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Council was awarded a $25 million federal grant that allowed the Missouri Department of Transportation to complete the Missouri portion of the project. The first segment of I-49 was designated in Missouri in 2012, stretching from Kansas City to Pineville.
The I-49 and I-29 corridor consists of more than 1,600 mi. of roadway, connecting six states: Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota. The connector will 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.
"From roadways to railways and from broadband to wastewater, without reliable infrastructure our economies cannot grow," Parson said. "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 Department of Transportation Director Patrick McKenna and Arkansas Department of Transportation Director Lorie Tudor joined Parson and Hutchinson on the new lanes at the state line for the ceremony, where they highlighted the important achievement of this historic partnership.
"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."
This final segment measures just 5 mi., but the completed I-49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector stretches 290 mi. between Kansas City, Mo., and Fort Smith, Ark. The newly-constructed highway opened to the public on Oct. 1, 2021.
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