Bella Vista bypass project making progress

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MCDONALD COUNTY, Mo. — An interstate project in Southwest Missouri is nearing completion. After years of construction – officials say there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel.

Shawn Cooper, President of the McDonald County Chamber, said, “We can jump on the interstate and we can be in Joplin in 45 minutes where growing up, long drive in the back seat.”

McDonald County Chamber President Shawn Cooper is hopeful that the new stretch of interstate will bring a economic impact to Anderson.

“We’re ready for business. I think it’s gonna open up people they can commute, the commute will be much shorter, it’ll be a much shorter commute, they can live here commute of live here and work from home. So we think McDonald County offers such a great venue and with the I-49 completion is really just gonna make the icing on the cake for investment in McDonald County.”

With several years of construction, it has made it harder to travel to different cities.

“Anytime you got to think about going through the traffic through the you just don’t go a lot of times you just go North. With this opening up it just opens up the Southern- or Northern part.. Southern sorry. Southern part of my county down with Walmart down there and so we’re excited about all of that traffic flowing through here.”

I-49 will stretch 5 miles in Missouri between Pineville and the Arkansas border.

Rep. Dirk Deaton, (R) District 159, said, “Yeah it has been a long time coming and we thought we would get it started years ago and the money fell through and thanks to Senator Blunt for getting a million dollar bill grant we’re finally able to complete it so this has been years in the making, decades in the making so it’s really exciting to finally have a completion date in the end inside.”

With the completion, there are hopes for new attraction buildings for tourists.

“There’s been you know a lot of anticipation about the possibility for a welcome center Missouri is kinda moving away from those there’s actually talks about shutting down existing welcome centers across the state just as we look at the private sector to fill that gap and so you know we’re hopeful there will be a interchange at I-49 and 90 Highway and so we’re hopeful there maybe be a private investment a truck stop of something of that nature that can maybe fill that need or that gap.”

Full completion of the highway is set in September of this year. The highway still needs the last leg to connect Missouri between Pineville and the Missouri Arkansas border.

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