FOUR STATE AREA — The I-49 Missouri-Arkansas connector may be finished by 2021.

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission awarded the project to Emery Sapp & Sons Incorporated of Columbia for $58.7 million.

This was announced following their meeting from Wednesday, April 1st.

The project which is scheduled to begin in late April or early May, will finish the five miles of I-49 in Pineville to the Arkansas/Missouri state line.

It will also relocate the four-lane divided highway to the West of U.S. Route 71, while also adding a new interchange at Missouri Route 90 West of Jane.

Dave Taylor, Area Engineer, said, “I think it is going to be a big boom for McDonald County and just for just the general freight traffic that is coming through there, so I’m going to be excited to get it done and because I’ve worked with MODOT going on 26 years now, so I remember when the talk was, when we first started building the I-49 or when it was 71 coming from Joplin and moving it down sections. So it took about my whole career almost it seems like, but I’ll get to see when it first started and I’ll get to see it end.”

The project is funded by the Better Utilizing Investments To Leverage Development Federal Grant.