The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has ordered a $2.3 million study of building a new interstate-grade highway to connect what is now U.S. 65 at Pine Bluff with the proposed extension of Interstate 69 near Monticello.
At the conclusion of the 20-month study, the department hopes to have a preferred route for the highway.
When the U.S. 65 bypass around the south of Pine Bluff is completed later this year, the highway from Interstate 30 at Little Rock to Pine Bluff's southeast side will be renamed I-530. It will be southeast Arkansas' first interstate highway, and the proposed highway would act as a continuation of that route further in the southeastern part of the state.
In March, U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater announced a $441,450 study of the route for the proposed new I-69 through eastern and southern Arkansas. Plans call for extending I-69 from Indiana through Texas, creating a route from Canada to Mexico, via eastern Arkansas.