Future I-57 to affect hundreds of acres of farmer’s land

From Region 8 News at Six
Published: Nov. 2, 2023 at 5:41 PM CDT
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RANDOLPH COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - An interstate to be built in Northeast Arkansas could cut hundreds of acres out of a family farm.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation last week released its preferred route for the future Interstate 57.

The route will travel west of the county’s Dave Donaldson Wildlife Management Area and through multiple acres of Dr. Bill Wright’s farmland.

“We’re going to have 710 acres that will be completely unfarmable. This is a very special, fragile, and environmental place, and they’re going to ruin it,” Wright said.

Wright said the land has been in his family for generations.

“Some of this land has been in my family for almost 100 years,” Wright said. “I’ve worked on it. It’s tough. It’s something we’ve always tried to take care of.”

He knew his land was in the interstate’s path after a farmhand noticed someone surveying a piece of his property.

“He told me there were some people on the property from ArDOT that were setting out flags for future I-57,” Wright explained.

Since that time, Wright has become frustrated after contacting multiple state officials and agencies but not getting any answers.

“I’ve tried reaching out to congressmen, attorney general, state senators, U.S. senators, ex-governors. No one seems to accept responsibility,” Wright said.

He isn’t done trying to get answers but does feel he is fighting an uphill battle.

“I don’t stand much of a chance, but I’m going to keep fighting it,” Wright said. “I’m going to keep reaching out to other people in the government.”