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Missouri, Arkansas governors celebrate historic partnership to complete I-49 connector

Governors Mike Parson and Asa Hutchinson joined together on Thursday, September 30 at the...
Governors Mike Parson and Asa Hutchinson joined together on Thursday, September 30 at the Missouri-Arkansas state line for a ribbon cutting ceremony.(Office of Governor Mike Parson)
Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 11:02 AM CDT
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(KFVS) - Governors Mike Parson and Asa Hutchinson joined together on Thursday, September 30 at the Missouri-Arkansas state line for a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The ceremony celebrated the completion of the I-49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector. It includes the final 5 miles of the I-49 and I-29 corridor that stretches from North Dakota to Louisiana. The Missouri and Arkansas Department of Transportation directors joined the governors for the occasion.

“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,” Governor 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 provided 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 finish 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 includes more than 1,600 miles of road, connecting six states: Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota.

It will create additional links 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.

“Arkansas, Missouri, and federal transportation officials have discussed the necessity of the I-49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector for more than 25 years,” said MoDOT Director Patrick 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.”

While the final segment is 5 miles, the completed I-49 connector is 290 miles between Kansas City, Mo. and Fort Smith, Ark.

The newly finished highway opens to the public on Friday, October 1.

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