Completion of I-49 in Mo. expected to push Ark. to finish their leg

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The director of a coalition pushing for creation of a nonstop highway from New Orleans to the Canada border say Missouri's completion of its portion of the project should build momentum for Arkansas and Louisiana to finish theirs.

A 180-mile stretch of U.S. 71 from Kansas City to Joplin will be officially renamed U.S. 49 at noon Wednesday, marking completion of all but about five miles of Missouri's segment.

Interstate 49 International Coalition executive director Gard Wayt of Shreveport, La., says his state will be finishing a portion connecting to the Arkansas border in the next six to seven months.

In Arkansas, voters approved a half-cent sales tax in November to pay for continued construction of 4-lane highways, including a portion of the I-49 project.

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