The new Interstate replaces old U.S. 71, which, with its twists and turns over the Boston Mountains, was one of the state’s most dangerous highways.
Construction of the new road began more than 12 years ago. It features a pair of tunnels near the Crawford-Washington county line. The tunnels, a third of a mile long, are the first highway tunnels in the state. The new highway also includes the highest bridge in the state, which crosses 210 feet above Hess Creek in southern Washington County.
Arkansas residents hope the $426 million highway will become part of a new Interstate 49 stretching from southern Louisiana to Kansas City, MO.