Oct. 29 – The grand opening of a new, interstate-grade highway connecting the Arkansas River valley with northwestern Arkansas should take place sometime before Christmas.
The four-lane highway that winds from Interstate 40 at Alma 10 miles north to Mountainburg is designated Arkansas 540. When the remaining 32-mile stretch connecting Mountainburg with the U.S. 71 bypass at Fayetteville is opened, the 42-mile highway will become Interstate 540, reports the Associated Press. The new highway is expected to get the bulk of the traffic that now makes hilly, curvy U.S. 71 from Alma to Fayetteville such a dangerous road.
Randy Ort, spokesman for the state Highway and Transportation Department, said the opening of the remaining 32 miles of Arkansas 540 will depend mostly on how quickly construction of the Bobby Hopper Tunnel and other key segments of the road can be finished. However, the road is expected to open between mid-November and mid-December.