Sections of I-540, U.S. 71 to be dubbed I-49

Posted: April 16, 2014 at 12:15 p.m.

Traffic moves along Interstate 540 near Rogers in a 2012 file photo.

Arkansas highway officials say the federal government has given it permission to label portions of a west Arkansas interstate highway as I-49.

Highway Department Director Scott Bennett said Wednesday that new signs will start going up next week on the stretch of highway from Alma to Bella Vista. The route is now labeled as Interstate 540.

Nearly 700 signs labeling the highway will cost the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department about $66,800.

Highway Commissioner Dick Trammel said renaming the route is a part of the agency's goal to upgrade U.S. 71 in west Arkansas to interstate highway standards. The Arkansas section of the road will eventually be incorporated into a multilane highway running from Kansas City, Mo., to New Orleans.