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Local & Regional News
Lawmakers have been working since the 1970s to turn a 44 mile stretch of U.S. Highway 63 into Interstate 555.  KASU News has been following the development of this once-in-a-lifetime story and it's impact on Northeast Arkansas.

US Highway 63 is now I-555

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Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Touted as “Making the Connection”, today’s dedication ceremony of the new Interstate 555 was a culmination of work that has been done on the highway since 1968. 

US Highway 63 was turned into four lanes in the 1980’s, was made interstate quality in the 1990’s and has been ready for the interstate designation.  That happened today at St. Bernard’s Auditorium in Jonesboro. 

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson tells about the significance of the designation. 

He also took the opportunity to announce that he will be addressing a new highway plan to the legislature during a second special session this year:

US Highway 63 is now I-555

US Representative Rick Crawford tucked an agricultural exemption into a five year highway bill that will allow for farm equipment to pass over the St. Francis Floodway, which made I-555 a reality.  He says this is going to positively affect the economic development of the region, not just those communities along the highway:

US Highway 63 is now I-555

Arkansas Highway Transportation Director Scott Bennett says to build bridges over the St. Francis Floodway would have cost about 32 million dollars.  He says now the state can take that money and put it toward other projects in northeast Arkansas:

US Highway 63 is now I-555

The new I-555 shields will start going up on the interstate starting Monday.  It should take about three weeks to replace 731 signs with the new I-555 shields.