and business leaders in Kansas City, MO, are pushing a plan to upgrade
U.S. 71 from Kansas City south to Louisiana into an interstate highway,
local media sources reported.
highway is one of the main freight routes between the two areas.
In addition, it passes by the Richard-Gebaur Memorial Airport, which
is being upgraded into an inland port and intermodal freight facility.
divided portions already exist from Lafayette to Shreveport, LA;
from Fort Smith to Rogers, AR; and from the Arkansas-Missouri border
to Kansas City. Some of the four-lane portions would require upgrades
to meet interstate standards, but many already carry interstate
new highway would carry the designation I-49. That highway already
runs from Lafayette, LA, north to Shreveport, LA. From Shreveport,
the new portion of interstate would follow U.S. 71 north along the
western border of Arkansas, running near the boundary with Texas
and Oklahoma. It would pass into Missouri near Joplin, MO, and then
follow the current four-lane U.S. 71 into Kansas City, where it
would link to I-29, a highway that runs north to the Canadian border.
Gutierrez, president of Kansas City SmartPort, told The Business
Journal of Kansas City that the new highway would cost roughly
$4.5 billion to build.
built the highway would not only link the port of New Orleans with
Kansas City, but also connect to the headquarters of retail giant
Wal-Mart Corp. in Bentonville, AR, as well as linking to Interstates
10, 20, 30, 40, 44, 70 and 35.