Pictured from left to right: Fort Smith Regional Chamber President, Tim Allen; I-49 International Coalition member, Curt Green, President of I-49 International Coalition; Billy B. Dooly of Fort Smith; Texarkana USA Chamber Chairman, Cory Floyd; Fort Smith Mayor Sandy Sanders; Sebastian County Judge David Hudson; Texarkana USA Chamber President, Michael Malone; and Gard Wayt, Executive Director I-49 International Coalition. Not pictured were Carl Geffken, City of Fort Smith Administrator and Gar Eisele, Vice President of Interstate 49 International Coalition and Mena/Polk County Chamber, both participating in additional meetings.
Delegations from the Texarkana USA Chamber of Commerce, Mena/Polk County Chamber of Commerce, and the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce met to discuss the final stages of completion of Interstate 49 from Texarkana to Fort Smith. Slightly over 200 miles of interstate highway development remain to complete the 1700 mile corridor from New Orleans to Winnipeg, Canada. The road, providing a safer transportation network and directly affecting 12 states, is expected to expand economic development including jobs, business opportunities, and tourism development.
The Chambers met to discuss the next stages to complete the highway. Attending from Fort Smith were Tim Allen, Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce President, Sebastian County Judge David Hudson, Fort Smith Mayor Sandy Sanders, Billy B. Dooly, Fort Smith, Carl E. Geffken, Fort Smith City Administrator, Cory Floyd, Texarkana Chamber Chairman of the Board, Texarkana USA Chamber of Commerce, Curt Green, Interstate 49 International Coalition, Gard Wayt, Executive Director, Interstate 49 International Coalition, Michael Malone, President, Texarkana USA Chamber of Commerce, and Gar Eisele, Vice President of the Interstate 49 International Coalition and the Mena/Polk County Chamber of Commerce from Mena, Arkansas. The productive meeting resulted in a joint agreement to encourage forward actions on the project. Focus is on the Interstate – 49 bridge over the Arkansas River at Fort Smith and the initiation of acquiring right of ways to further the highway through Arkansas.
Local governments and community organizations have further meetings planned. For more information on the Interstate 49 project, view the Interstate 49 International Coalition website and for the Chambers of Commerce, visit their websites.