Update on the I-555 project

Update on the I-555 project

POINSETT COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - The conversion of Hwy 63 to Interstate 555 has been in the works for over 10 years.

There are several signs along Hwy 63 promoting the future I-555, but most people want to know when the future will be a reality. Some Poinsett County farmers use Hwy 63 to get across the St. Francis floodway. The road department isn't ready to make the highway an interstate until farmers have a new route.

"The interstate system started being discussed right after I came into office about 12 years ago," said Tyronza mayor, Marion Bearden. It has been an ongoing process."

Randy Ort with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department said the new route or frontage road could cost about $25 million. 

"This area is prime area for agri-tourism and I don't know very many spots where you could take a 30 minute drive going north and see cotton, bean, corn, rice," Bearden said. She said this interstate could increase tourism in Region 8.

"I think it's a real necessity because we've got farmers now who not just in one location," she said. "They are spread so far out and the equipment, the size of it now, you can't put it on the interstate system.”

The frontage road will be considered for funding between 2016 and 2019.

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