FUTURE I-69 FINALIST FOR CORRIDORS OF THE FUTURE PROGRAM
LITTLE ROCK (2-8) Future Interstate 69, part of which is to be constructed through southern Arkansas, is one of eight corridors nationwide being considered for the “Corridors of the Future” program of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), according to Dan Flowers, AHTD Director and Chairman of the eight-state Interstate 69 Steering Committee.
Of 38 proposals originally received by the USDOT, eight corridors have been selected from across the country to continue to phase two of the program. They are: I-69 from Port Huron, Michigan, through Arkansas, to the lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas; I-95 between Florida and Maine; I-15 in southern California and Nevada; I-80/94 and I-90 linking Illinois, Indiana and Michigan; I-5 in California, Washington and Oregon; I-70 from Missouri to Ohio; I-80 in Nevada and California; and I-10 from California to Florida.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters said the Corridors of the Future effort is a progressive approach that includes transportation planning across state lines in ways that reduce congestion and preserve the efficient flow of goods and commerce across America. She went on to caution that “congestion is choking our major roads and if we don’t act today, our economy will be facing a standstill in the future. Our goal is to relieve congestion on roadways.”
Peters said the applicants “exhibited creativity and innovation in their initial proposals to reduce congestion.” She indicated that the USDOT looks forward to the next phase of the program in which ideas will be further developed and refined.
“The Interstate 69 Steering Committee was pleased to learn that Interstate 69 is one of eight semi-finalists selected for phase two,” Flowers commented. “Not only will the construction of Interstate 69 contribute to easing congestion on our nation’s roadways, it will also strengthen the economy of south Arkansas and the lower Mississippi Delta Region.”
The Interstate 69 Steering Committee is comprised of State Department of Transportation leaders from Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.
Plans call for Interstate 69 to cross the Mississippi River into Arkansas in the area of Arkansas City. It will continue westward stretching south of Monticello and north of El Dorado before turning southwestward to Shreveport, Louisiana.
After considering the eight semi-finalists, the Department of Transportation will select three to five corridors with the greatest potential to achieve the goals of the Corridors of the Future program.
Peters said the U. S. Department of Transportation will aggressively support the development of the Corridors of the Future by accelerating permitting schedules, identifying new financing options and promoting innovative project delivery methods to “move these projects from the drawing board to completion faster than ever before.”
Madison Murphy, a member of the Arkansas Highway Commission, from El Dorado, said “We are encouraged to receive this notification and hope that I-69 will be selected as one of the ‘Corridors of the Future’ during the phase two evaluation.”