Western Arkansas Intermodal Authority updates on Greenwood Bypass, I-49 north of Fort Chaffee
In a Western Arkansas Intermodal Authority board meeting on January 9, 2019, executive director Mat Pitsch told the board the I-49 project is not dead even though a letter from ARDOT director Scott Bennett reports that the HNTB study determined tolling would not support the cost of constructing 13.5 miles of interstate and a new bridge across the Arkansas River between Chaffee Crossing and Alma, Arkansas.
"Looking at bigger projects, Pitsch told the board that ARDOT Director Scott Bennett had a study done on the feasibility of a bridge and a roughly 13-mile section of I-49 north of Fort Chaffee that would connect Highway 22 in Sebastian County and the I-40/I-49 interchange in Crawford County to be a toll system. The timing for that section of the interstate would have to be started within the next five years," he said.
“No one wanted to commit to a 13-mile section, but by doing it the way he did, he could see who might be interested in a toll contract on the highway without having to commit to starting the entire project,” Pitsch said. “It was a very smart way to do it. We don’t know if any of the (interstate) will be toll, but by using funds for the study, it was a commitment that construction on that section would have to be started within five years.”