LITTLE ROCK (9-11) 

The U. S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has named the I-69 corridor as one of six national Corridors of the Future, according to Dan Flowers, Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department Director and Chairman of the eight-state Interstate 69 Steering Committee. 

             The U. S. Department of Transportation named the selected routes in an announcement Monday afternoon.  The six Corridors of the Future 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-5 in California, Washington and Oregon; I-70 from Missouri to Ohio; and I-10 from California to Florida.

             “This is an extremely significant step for the development of I-69,” stated Flowers. “The other corridors named are Interstate highways that are already in existence. The majority of I-69 is yet to be built. This is certainly a confirmation of the need for this highway and the nationwide safety, mobility, freight movement, and economic benefits that can be derived from its construction.” 

             Interstate 69 begins at the U.S./Canadian border north of Detroit and extends southward to Indianapolis . The corridor is then in various stages of development and construction from Indianapolis south through Kentucky , Tennessee , Mississippi , Arkansas , Louisiana , and Texas before reaching the Mexican border near Laredo . All eight states from Michigan to Texas are part of the I-69 Steering Committee that was formed in 1993 to oversee the development of the route. Arkansas has served as the lead state and Flowers has chaired the Steering Committee since its inception.

Plans call for Interstate 69 to cross the Mississippi River into Arkansas just north of Arkansas City .  It will continue westward staying south of Monticello and north of El Dorado before turning southwestward to Shreveport , Louisiana .

Madison Murphy, a member of the Arkansas Highway Commission from El Dorado , also commented on the importance of I-69. “We’ve known at the state level for years how this new highway will provide an economic boost for our area,” Murphy said. “Many individuals and groups have worked very hard to raise the awareness level for I-69, so it’s nice to see that that hard work is paying off by having I-69 recognized nationally as a Corridor of the Future.”

 The Corridors of the Future program was created in early 2006 as part of the USDOT’s Congestion Reduction Initiative. Thirty-eight proposals were initially considered by the USDOT for the designation. In early 2007, that number was narrowed down to 14 projects on eight major transportation corridors.  The USDOT will aggressively support the development of the six 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.”

             “Putting I-69 in the same category as those other very important and heavily traveled routes and recognizing the significance of I-69 to this country’s infrastructure is a huge credit to the work that has been done by the Steering Committee and the I-69 Congressional Caucus, which is co-chaired by Arkansas Congressman Mike Ross,” Flowers said.  “We also appreciate the support of the I-69 Mid-Continent Highway iHCoalition throughout this process.”




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