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I-69 Groundbreaking Ceremony – Photos

November 10th, 2011 by

Congressman Mike Ross, featured speaker, and several other public officials break ground on the Arkansas portion of the proposed Interstate 69, east of Monticello in Drew County. Ross, who helped secure federal support for the project in Arkansas, said the interstate is expected to bring many much-needed jobs to south Arkansas and provide an economic boost for the entire region.

When complete, I-69 will span over 2,700 miles from the Canadian border in Michigan to the Mexican border in Texas running through southeastern Arkansas.  

Ross joined dozens of public officials and business leaders on Wednesday in Drew County to break ground on the Arkansas portion of Interstate 69. Once complete, I-69 is expected to become America’s top freight and passenger corridor, serving over 23 million people, reducing travel time, reducing fuel consumption costs, creating thousands of new jobs and boosting economic development for communities along the project.

“Today, we are a step closer to finishing one of the nation’s newest and most promising interstates,” Ross said at the event. “There has been such unified support for I-69 in Arkansas because the benefits to our state are clear. Construction will create many much-needed jobs and, once it’s built, it will boost commerce to the region and usher in new economic opportunities for many of our towns and businesses. Much like I-40 and I-30 have helped communities all along its corridors grow and prosper, I-69 will help do the same in southeastern Arkansas.”

The Arkansas segment of I-69 is expected to connect Memphis to Shreveport, traversing down east of the Mississippi River, crossing the river in Desha County and then passing through Drew, Bradley, Calhoun, Ouachita, Union and Columbia counties before crossing into Louisiana. Portions of I-69 have already been completed from Michigan to Indiana. Until today’s event, construction had not started on any portion of the interstate in Arkansas.

Ross, who helped secure millions in federal support for the interstate project, said he has fought hard in Congress to support I-69 and led congressional efforts to ensure the interstate was selected as a U.S. Department of Transportation “Corridor of the Future” giving it priority status. Ross also added that it was the unified support from public officials, community leaders, economic developers and private businesses in Arkansas that ultimately led to the groundbreaking and start of construction on the Arkansas portion of the interstate.

“They announced I-69 five years before I was born. To break ground on this project now, with funds I helped secure, is one of the highlights of my time representing Arkansas in Congress,” said Ross. “But, this groundbreaking is the result of a strong coalition working to push Arkansas forward and preparing our state to grow. I’m proud to stand alongside public officials and industry leaders across this state, particularly those here in south Arkansas, that worked together to make this groundbreaking happen and to dedicate this new interstate to our future and the futures of all those who call southern Arkansas home.”

Once complete, I-69 will become a major national freight corridor linking manufacturing and agricultural centers throughout the country. In fact, it will be the only direct national link between two of the nation’s major trading partners – Canada and Mexico – and will connect two of the nation’s busiest border crossings, which account for about half of all U.S. trade with both countries. Fifteen of the nation’s top 25 cargo airports will be easily accessible to I-69, 96 rail terminals will be within 150 miles of the I-69 corridor and the interstate will directly connect 17 of the nation’s top 25 seaports. 

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I-69 Groundbreaking Ceremony Scheduled for Wednesday, Moved to Fairgrounds
Nov. 9, 2011

The ground breaking for the first official I-69 project in Arkansas is scheduled for Wednesday, November 9 at 11:00 am in Monticello.

The event will take place at the Drew County Fairgrounds due to last night’s rain. 

The agenda is expected to include comments from AHTD Director Scott Bennett, AR Highway Commission Chairman Madison Murphy and Congressman Mike Ross.

3 Responses to “I-69 Groundbreaking Ceremony – Photos”

  1. I-69 Neighbor says:

    What a wonderful decision! Monticello’s economy is doing so well already! I’m sure the local business will be thrilled when the new interstate comes through with all of the prospective customers! Oh wait….with this location those customers will have to get off the interstate and actually drive into “town”. The location of this interstate was one made without even considering what was best for our town. The interstate will most likely, in no way assist Monticello or any of our local business in growing and thriving. Unless of course they decide to move their business towards the interstate! Clearly our town enjoys the view of empty buildings. Maybe the citizens living on top of the interstate will have the oppertunity to start their own business and thank God the “pretigious” homes by the “Country Club” won’t have to hear any of that horrible traffic!

  2. Agree says:

    You said it right!!!

  3. Mark Allen says:

    it will most likley be just like the I530 project and only connect to highways and stop.. It will be many years before we see the finished project prolly not in my life time anyway.

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