Interstate 540 (Arkansas)

Last updated

I-540 (AR).svg

Interstate 540
Route information
Maintained by ArDOT
Length14.71 mi [1] (23.67 km)
Major junctions
South endUS 271 (AR).svgArkansas 253.svg US 271 / AR 253 near Fort Smith
North endI-40.svg I-40 in Van Buren
Counties Sebastian, Crawford
Highway system
I-530.svg I-530 AR 549 Arkansas 549.svg

Interstate 540 (I-540) is a freeway spur route of I-40 in the US state of Arkansas in Fort Smith. The total length is 14.71 miles (23.67 km). [1] At first, I-540 was a short spur connecting Fort Smith and Van Buren to I-40 as one of the original five Arkansas Interstates. [2] The route ran just over 14 miles (23 km) to US 271 near the Oklahoma state line. [3] The growing Northwest Arkansas area and the University of Arkansas needed an Interstate connection to Little Rock, and through traffic north to Kansas City had also outgrown the winding US 71 north from I-40. The route was extended north to Mountainburg in the late 1990s on an all-new alignment (going under concurrency with I-40, one of the only auxiliary routes with a concurrency with its parent) with the route being completed to Bella Vista in January 1999. [4] However, the segment north of I-40 became a part of Interstate 49 in 2014.

Interstate 40 (I-40) is an east–west Interstate Highway that has a 284.69-mile (458.16 km) section in the U.S. state of Arkansas connecting Oklahoma to Tennessee. The route enters Arkansas from the west just north of the Arkansas River near Dora. It travels eastward across the northern portion of the state connecting the cities of Fort Smith, Clarksville, Russellville, Morrilton, Conway, Little Rock, Forrest City, and West Memphis. I-40 continues into Tennessee heading through Memphis. The highway has major junctions with Interstate 540 at Van Buren, Interstate 49 at Alma, Interstate 30 in Little Rock, and Interstate 55 to Blytheville.

Arkansas State of the United States of America

Arkansas is a state in the southern region of the United States, home to over 3 million people as of 2018. Its name is of Siouan derivation from the language of the Osage denoting their related kin, the Quapaw Indians. The state's diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta.

Fort Smith, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Fort Smith is the second-largest city in Arkansas and one of the two county seats of Sebastian County. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 86,209. With an estimated population of 88,037 in 2017, it is the principal city of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area, a region of 298,592 residents that encompasses the Arkansas counties of Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian, and the Oklahoma counties of Le Flore and Sequoyah.


Route description

The older portion of I-540, completed in the 1970s, connects Interstate 40 southwards to the Oklahoma state line, going through Van Buren and Fort Smith. This particular spur starts at Exit 7 on Interstate 40 (being 7 miles (11 km) east of the state line with Oklahoma). That point marks mile zero on this spur, in keeping with Interstate Highway rules that spur mileage begins at the "parent" route. The first 3 miles (5 km) are through Van Buren, before the bridge over the Arkansas River. The remainder, for a grand total of approximately 15 miles (24 km), travels through Fort Smith. AHTD bid a $79 million project in 2013 for I-540 rehabilitation in Fort Smith that includes re-signing the route and renumbering the exits. [5]

Oklahoma State of the United States of America

Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, Texas on the south, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the fifty United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which dramatically increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.

Van Buren, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Van Buren is the second largest city in the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area and the county seat of Crawford County, Arkansas, United States. The city is located directly northeast of Fort Smith at the Interstate 40 - Interstate 540 junction. The city was incorporated in 1845 and as of the 2010 census had a population of 22,791, ranking it as the state's 22nd largest city, behind Searcy.

Arkansas River major tributary of the Mississippi River, United States

The Arkansas River is a major tributary of the Mississippi River. It generally flows to the east and southeast as it traverses the U.S. states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The river's source basin lies in the western United States in Colorado, specifically the Arkansas River Valley, where the headwaters derive from the snowpack in the Sawatch and Mosquito mountain ranges. It then flows east into the Midwest via Kansas, and finally into the South through Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Fort Smith route

Beginning at the I-540 and I-40 junction in Van Buren, the route begins southward along the eastern boundary of Van Buren, with exits numbered sequentially heading south. The segment is largely concurrent with US 71. The first exit along this segment of I-540/US 71 is with US 64 and US 71B (US 71B), which leads west into the Van Buren Historic District and east to Alma. Continuing south, I-540/US 71 passes over Highway 162 (Kibler Road), with no access between the routes. An exit providing access to Highway 59, via Riggs Drive (southbound) or Twin Circle Drive (northbound), is just prior crossing the Arkansas River. After crossing the river, the highways enter Fort Smith and Sebastian County. I-540/US 71 run through a commercial area and has three exits with city collector roads before an exit for Phoenix Avenue, which gives access to Fort Smith Regional Airport. However, this exit does not have any access to southbound I-540/US 71.

Concurrency (road) instance of one physical road bearing two or more different highways

A concurrency in a road network is an instance of one physical roadway bearing two or more different route numbers. When two roadways share the same right-of-way, it is sometimes called a common section or commons. Other terminology for a concurrency includes overlap, coincidence, duplex, triplex, multiplex, dual routing or triple routing.

U.S. Route 64 in Arkansas highway in Arkansas

U.S. Route 64 is a U.S. highway running from Teec Nos Pos, Arizona east to Nags Head, North Carolina. In the U.S. state of Arkansas, the route runs 246.35 miles (396.46 km) from the Oklahoma border in Fort Smith east to the Tennessee border in Memphis. The route passes through several cities and towns, including Fort Smith, Clarksville, Russellville, Conway, Searcy, and West Memphis. US 64 runs parallel to Interstate 40 until Conway, when I-40 takes a more southerly route.

Van Buren Historic District

The Van Buren Historic District encompasses eight blocks of historic buildings along Main Street in Van Buren, Arkansas. Many of the structures are pre-1920 Victorian and Italianate buildings closely related to the history of commerce in the city. Positioned between the city's train depot and the Arkansas River, the businesses constituting the Van Buren Historic District have played a vital role in the history and economy of the city and region. The district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic District on April 30, 1976.

Now turning toward the southwest, I-540/US 71 have exits with Highway 45 (Greenwood Road) and Highway 255 (Zero Street). Following these intersections, US 71 departs I-540 southbound toward Texarkana, with US 71B terminating at the parent route at the exit. I-540 begins to pass through a residential area before its final exit at US 271 and Highway 253. Following this exit, the roadway continues but ceases to be I-540, becoming US 271 and entering Oklahoma.[ citation needed ]

Arkansas Highway 45 highway in Arkansas

Highway 45 is a designation for three state highways in northwest Arkansas. The southern segment of 26.97 miles (43.40 km) runs from Highway 96 north across US Route 71 (US 71) to Interstate 540/US 71 (I-540/US 71) in Fort Smith. Another segment of 10.64 miles (17.12 km) runs Highway 59 at Dutch Mills to US 62 in rural Washington County. A third route of 25.42 miles (40.91 km) runs from U.S. Route 71B (US 71B) in Fayetteville to Highway 12 near Clifty. These routes were formerly connected until a portion of approximately 50 miles (80 km) was redesignated Arkansas Highway 59 and many United States highways were rerouted through Fayetteville.

Arkansas Highway 255 highway in Arkansas

Highway 255 is a designation for two north–south state highways in Sebastian County. An eastern route of 7.37 miles (11.86 km) runs north from Highway 22 through Lavaca to terminate at Highway 22 in Central City. A second route of 17.21 miles (27.70 km) begins at Highway 22 in Barling and runs to US Route 64/U.S. Route 71B (US 64/US 71B).

Texarkana, Arkansas City in the United States

Texarkana is a city in Arkansas and the county seat of Miller County. The city is located across the state line from its twin city, Texarkana, Texas. The city was founded at a railroad intersection on December 8, 1873, and was incorporated in Arkansas on August 10, 1880. Texarkana is the principal city of the Texarkana metropolitan area, which is ranked 274th in terms of population in the United States with 150,098 in 2016 according to the United States Census Bureau.


The Interstate spur opened in phases. According to a 1970 road map of Fort Smith,[ citation needed ] exits 2-11 (Van Buren through the Zero Street exit) were opened, with later exits (12-14) and the roadway itself still under construction. Portions of the roadway that became I-540 around Fayetteville were built in the early 1970s, but upgraded and extended in the mid-1990s. The highway around Fayetteville originally received US 71 signage until the complete I-540 spur was opened.

Originally, I-540 running from I-40 to Oklahoma through Fort Smith was originally signed east–west, but with the construction of the new spur that runs north through Northwest Arkansas to Missouri the entire I-540 was resigned as a north–south road. It is one of the few that have changed this way.[ citation needed ]

In the late 1990s, I-540 was extended into Northwest Arkansas. It had been planned since the 1970s as a bypass of U.S. Highway 71. The first section, between Alma and Mountainburg was known as Arkansas Highway 540. Originally, the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) asked the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), who are in charge of Interstate and U.S. Highway route numbering, to allow the Interstate segment between Fort Smith and Bentonville to be named I-49, in order to emphasize plans to extend the route from Shreveport, Louisiana, through Arkansas to Kansas City, Missouri. [6] AASHTO refused and the route opened on January 8, 1999, as a northern extension of I-540. [7] On October 18, 2013, AASHTO approved AHTD's application to designate I-49 across the state, specifically allowing the state to renumber I-540 as I-49. [8] The northern section of I-540 was renumbered I-49 in April 2014. [9]

Exit list

CountyLocationmi [1] kmExitDestinationsNotes
Crawford Van Buren I-540.svgI-49.svgI-40.svgUS 71 (AR).svg I-540 ends / I-49 north / I-40 east / US 71 northNorthern end of I-40 Concurrency; Former I-540 north; End I-540
14.7123.671I-40.svg I-40 west (US 71 north) Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Fayetteville Northern end of US 71 concurrency; formerly exit 15; signed as left exit 1A (west) & 1B (east); I-40 exit 7; temporary concurrency with I-49; Southern end of I-40 Concurrency
14.2022.852US 64 (AR).svg US 64 (US 71B) Van Buren Signed as exits 2A (west) and 2B (east)
11.9219.183Arkansas 59.svg AR 59  Van Buren
Arkansas River 11.24–
Crawford-Sebastian County Line
Sebastian Fort Smith 5Kelley Highway
6Grand Avenue
8Arkansas 22.svg AR 22 (Rogers Avenue)Signed as exits 8A (west) and 8B (east) southbound; temporary concurerncy with I-49
9Leigh Avenue / Phoenix Avenue east Airport No southbound entrance
10Arkansas 45.svg AR 45 (Greenwood Road) / Phoenix Avenue west
11Arkansas 255.svg AR 255 (Zero Street)
12US 71 (AR).svgI-49.svg US 71 south (US 71B north) to I-49  Texarkana Southern end of US 71 concurrency; temporary concurrency with I-49
13Jenny Lind Road
14US 271 (AR).svgArkansas 253.svg US 271 north / AR 253 southNorthern end of US 271 concurrency; I-540.svg I-540 ends
0.000.00US 271.svgOklahoma State Highway 9.svg US-271 south / SH-9 west Oklahoma to I-35.svg I-35  Norman Oklahoma state line; southern end of US 271 concurrency
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Arkansas Highway 540

Arkansas 540.svg

Highway 540
Location Crawford County
Length12 mi (19 km)
ExistedJune 7, 1995 [10] –January 8, 1999

Highway 540 (AR 540, Ark. 540, and Hwy. 540) was a temporary designation for what would later become Interstate 540 between Alma and Mountainburg in the U.S. state of Arkansas. Traveling a distance of approximately 12 miles,[ citation needed ] its southern terminus was at I-40 west of Alma and its northern terminus at US 71 in Mountainburg. [10]

Related Research Articles

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Crawford County, Arkansas County in the United States

Crawford County is a county located in the Ozarks region of the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 61,948, making it the 12th-most populous of Arkansas's 75 counties. The county seat and largest city is Van Buren. Crawford County was formed on October 18, 1820 from the former Lovely County and Indian Territory, and was named for William H. Crawford, the United States Secretary of War in 1815.

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U.S. Route 271 highway in the United States

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U.S. Route 71 highway in the United States

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Arkansas Highway 59 highway in Arkansas

Arkansas Highway 59 is a north–south state highway in Northwest Arkansas. The route runs 93.24 miles (150.06 km) from Arkansas Highway 22 in Barling north to the Missouri state line through Van Buren, the county seat of Crawford County. Highway 59 parallels US 59 between Siloam Springs and Fort Smith. Since US 59 goes through Arkansas, AR 59 is the only Arkansas state highway to share its numbering with a federal highway that goes through Arkansas.

Arkansas Highway 10 highway in Arkansas

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Arkansas Highway 162 highway in Arkansas

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Arkansas Highway 9 highway in Arkansas

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Arkansas Highway 282 highway in Arkansas

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U.S. Route 71 in Arkansas highway in Arkansas and Texas

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  1. 1 2 3 Planning and Research Division (2010). "Arkansas Road Log Database". Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department. Archived from the original (Database) on June 23, 2011. Retrieved June 9, 2011.
  2. Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (1992). "The Beginning of the Mack-Blackwell Years". Historical Review: Arkansas State Highway Commission and Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, 1913–1992. Little Rock: Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department. p. 89.
  3. Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (1988). Highway Map of Arkansas (TIFF) (Map). Little Rock: Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
  4. Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (2004). "The 90s". Historical Review Volume Two: Arkansas State Highway Commission and Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, 1913–2003. Little Rock: Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.
  5. Mitchell, Aric (January 7, 2013). "I-540 in Fort Smith, Van Buren Set for $78 Million Rehab". The City Wire. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
  6. Arkansas State Highway Commission (January 22, 1991). "Minutes of the Meeting" (PDF). Arkansas State Highway Commission. p. 868. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
  7. Arkansas State Highway Commission (August 6, 1997). "Minutes of the Meeting" (PDF). Arkansas State Highway Commission. p. 960. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
  8. Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering (October 28, 2013). "Special Committee on US Route Numbering Meeting Minutes for October 17, 2013 and Report to SCOH October 18, 2013" (PDF) (Report). Washington, DC: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. p. 2. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  9. Rozelle, Jonathan. "I-540 Becomes Interstate 49". Fort Smith–Rogers, AR: KHBS/KHOG-TV. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  10. 1 2 Arkansas State Highway Commission (June 7, 1995). "Minutes of the Meeting" (PDF). Arkansas State Highway Commission. pp. 647–648. Retrieved December 24, 2013.

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