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Hey: You may have covered this and I missed it. We noticed signs on U.S. 67-167 saying the highway is the future route of Interstate 57. Any thoughts on this? -- Mr. Coffee

Dear Coffee: We have not personally covered this matter, except to answer numerous questions over the years about an extension of U.S. 67 to the Missouri line. Right now the highway is four lanes to Walnut Ridge. Heckfire, we remember when U.S. 67-167 was four lanes all the way to Bald Knob, and that was a big deal. Over the years, the four lanes stretched to Newport and beyond to Walnut Ridge.

Here's what we know.

We know that the Fabulous Babe first noticed an I-57 sign in North Little Rock and articulately exclaimed: "Huh?"

We know the Arkansas Department of Transportation had a revelation and press conference in Searcy back in February about plans to turn U.S. 67 into an extension of Interstate 57. And that six of those signs would be erected.

We know that last year U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., inserted a provision into a federal bill that would allow Arkansas to designate any part of U.S. 67 between Walnut Ridge and North Little Rock as part of I-57. Any part, that is, built to interstate standards.

We don't know, but suspect that the project in Jacksonville that has been in progress since memory runneth to the contrary is being built to interstate standards. We do know the Highway Department has told us several times that project will be done this summer.

We also know the agency is cogitating on the route that would run between Walnut Ridge and the Missouri border.

And we know that these things take lots and lots of time, Mr. Coffee. Based on your age, you may or may not see this come to fruition.

Dear Mahatma: Interstate 30 terminates in North Little Rock, right there at historic Park Hill. Why isn't there a sign somewhere, like on the Arkansas River Bridge, that tells motorists they're coming to the terminus of a major interstate highway?-- Kiwanis Club.

Dear Kiwanian: An explanation comes from Joe Sartini, the state maintenance engineer of the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

To avoid confusion by stating that an interstate ends, overhead signs transition drivers from one interstate to a connecting interstate. Nothing in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices requires a terminus to be signed and the department has several of them in central Arkansas -- Interstate 440 and Interstate 530 also terminate in these parts.

Telling drivers the interstate on which they are traveling is fixing to end isn't a good idea, Sartini said, and so transitions from route to route are clearly identified.

Vanity plate: 4 Frodo. As in, doubtless, the hairy-footed chief protagonist in Lord of the Rings. What this says about the driver, we decline to speculate.

Metro on 06/30/2018

Print Headline: U.S. 67 has sign of next interstate

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