40 years in the making, I-555 in Arkansas becoming reality

Arkansas highway officials will designate 44 miles of U.S. 63 as Interstate 555.

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) - Forty years in the making, Interstate 555 in Arkansas is about to become a reality.

Arkansas highway officials and others will designate 44 miles of U.S. 63 as Interstate 555 on Friday. The route runs from I-55 near Turrell to U.S. 49 in Jonesboro.

Upgrades have been going on since the 1970s, but having the highway designated as I-555 was hung up because of a federal law prohibiting farm equipment from interstate highways.

Congress last year approved an exemption for a five-mile stretch between Payneway and Marked Tree, where wetlands adjacent to the highway are too sensitive to allow a frontage road. Farmers will still be able to reach cotton gins and grain elevators on the existing highway.

Ceremonies are set for midday at St. Bernards Medical Center in Jonesboro.

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