Icon (Close Menu)


ARDOT Receives $25M Federal Grant for I-49 Extension Project

2 min read

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Thursday in a press release that it awarded a $25 million grant to the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

The Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant will be used for the construction of a 14-mile extension of Interstate 49 in Crawford and Sebastian Counties between Highway 22 in Barling and Interstate 40 in Alma.  

According to the release, the I-49 extension will be a four-lane interstate highway and will include a bridge over the Arkansas River and interchanges at Highway 22, Gun Club Road, Clear Creek Road and Interstate 40. The I-49 extension will connect to previously constructed sections of I-49, advancing the completion of a National Highway System High Priority Corridor. 

The project is estimated to start construction December 2024, according to the RAISE 2024 fact sheet

Just two years ago, ARDOT allocated $87 million to unclog two spots along I-49 in Fayetteville: the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and I-49 and the interchange at Arkansas 16, also known as Wedington Drive.

Two Arkansas cities also received RAISE grants during this funding cycle. 

On Wednesday, Searcy received a $4.2 million grant for an expansion of the existing 5.5-mile Searcy Bike Trail. The award from the U.S. Department of Transportation is the largest federal grant that Searcy has ever received.

The same day, Siloam Springs received an $11.5 million grant for the restoration of Sager Creek Bridge and the improvements along East Main Street between Maxwell Street and Lincoln Street. The project is estimated to start construction in September 2025.

The I-49 and Siloam Springs projects were both listed as an area of persistent poverty or historically disadvantaged community designation on the RAISE 2024 fact sheetThe Searcy project is not categorized as such.

Lorie Tudor, director of ARDOT, said in the release that the I-49 extension will provide improved regional mobility that will converge with the Arkansas River and several Class 1 railroads. 

“I want to express my sincere thanks to the USDOT for recognizing the value of this project,” Tudor said, “as well as Arkansas’ Congressional Delegation for their support and advocacy in acquiring this very important funding.” 

In May 2023, Tudor told Arkansas Business the ARDOT’s funding for Arkansas roads and bridges was increasing by about $500 million per year thanks to a combination of federal and state legislation.

In November 2021, President Joe Biden signed the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, which was expected to provide Arkansas $3.6 billion for state roads and $278 million for bridges over the next five years.

The RAISE discretionary grant program provides funding for road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve national objectives. During this funding cycle, the USDOT awarded $1.8 billion in grant funding for more than 148 projects across the country.

In June 2023, ARDOT received a $25 million RAISE grant to reconstruct 3.5 miles of Arkansas 5, also known as Old Stagecoach Road, in Saline County between Highway 183 in Bryant and the Pulaski County line.

Send this to a friend