Highway 63 designated as Interstate 555

Highway 63 designated as Interstate 555

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - U.S. 63 will now be known as Interstate 555 between Jonesboro and I-55.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson as well as several state and local leaders were on hand for a dedication ceremony at St. Bernards Auditorium Friday morning.

Scott Bennett, director of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department said this is a project they've been working on for several years.

"We've spent about $250 million dollars upgrading U.S. 63 to interstate standards," Bennett said. "There was one little kink and that was how we get agricultural traffic across the St. Francis sunken lands. With the leadership of Congress and the leadership at the state level with Governor Hutchinson, state representatives and state senators, we were able to get exemptions in place that will still allow agricultural traffic to cross the sunken lands and that's led us to the designation today of Interstate 555. It will be a huge bonus in economic development in this part of the state."

Bennett said road improvements are on the way to Interstate 555 in the future.

"In our upcoming construction program that will go through 2020, we'll be making a lot of improvements to the pavement and to the bridge decks on I-555," Bennett said. "We'll not only have a new designation, but we'll have a lot of improvements to the road. Making it safer and easier to travel on."

Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin said this addition will not only be beneficial to Jonesboro but other surrounding areas as well.

"That will be a big push for us on economic development, getting our students here safer to Arkansas State University and we're just so excited its now become a reality," Perrin said. "We're going to see more people that what I call circling, come in. Industry and other factories and manufacturing as well as retail."

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