The shortest Interstate that ends in a zero, Interstate 30 joins the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area with Texarkana and Little Rock, Arkansas. The freeway originates in a rural area just west of Fort Worth, splitting with Interstate 20 at a wye interchange. East from there, I-30 bisects Fort Worth to Downtown, where it joins the former Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike. Interstate 30 was opened through Fort Worth in 1964.5
Renamed the Tom Landry Freeway after the famed head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Interstate 30 bee lines east from Fort Worth to Arlington, Grand Prairie and central Dallas. The toll road ended at Interstate 35E, just north of the Mix Master Interchange south of Downtown, leaving IH 30 as a free route east to Mesquite, Garland and other eastern suburbs.
Beyond Dallas, Interstate 30 overlays U.S. 67 northeast to Greenville, where the route turns east toward Sulphur Springs and Mount Pleasant along a rural course. Another northern shift ensues there, taking IH 30 to New Boston, the Red River Army Depot, and Texarkana.
Once in Arkansas, Interstate 30 remains a busy trucking corridor as it swings northeast to Hope, Prescott and Arkadelphia through increasingly hilly terrain. Further east along I-30, the freeway reaches Benton and the far outer suburbs of Little Rock. I-30 increases in capacity on the northeast approach to I-430, I-530 and I-440 within the capital city. Combining with U.S. 65 and 167 at the end of I-530, I-30 turns north for its final push toward Downtown Little Rock, North Little Rock and the eastern terminus at Interstate 40.
Arkansas Freeway Names
John Price adds some additional facts about the Interstate System in Arkansas:
- Interstate 30’s original name in Downtown Little Rock was “The Little Rock Expressway” from the Arkansas River to University Avenue.
- Interstate 630’s original name before being named for “Sen. Wilbur Mills” was “The 8th Street Expressway.”
- Interstate 430 was informally called that “West Belt Freeway” and sometimes “Rockefeller Highway” before it was named in 2004 as the “Purple Heart Highway.”
- Interstate 440 in Little Rock is often referred on maps as the “East Belt Freeway.”
- Interstate 40 in Arkansas was named the “Veterans Memorial Highway.”
- The U.S. 67/167 freeway in central Arkansas is often called “The Jacksonville Freeway” because this road originally ended in Jacksonville at the Air Base Exit for Little Rock Air Force Base. This freeway continues today to Newport.
- In Western Arkansas, I-540 between I-40 and Bentonville is named the “John Paul Hammerschmidt Freeway” in honor of northwest Arkansas’s former U.S. Representative.
High Priority Corridor
Interstate 30 is part of High Priority Corridor 55: Dallas to Memphis via Little Rock between Dallas and Little Rock.
Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike
The origins of the Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike can be traced back to 1953 when the Texas Toll Authority was formed. This organization was given the responsibility to oversee toll road construction conducted by private parties. In 1954, construction began on what was the first tolled facility in the Lone Star State. The limited-access highway opened to traffic in 1957 at a cost of $59 million.3
The turnpike did not come without compromise however. To sell the idea to the city of Arlington, an east-west connection to Grand Prairie was required. This was accomplished by constructing Texas 303, the Pioneer Parkway, which was completed in 19605.
Also tangled in the politics of the turnpike was the 1950s routing of Interstate 20 in south Arlington. Support garnered from the city of Arlington helped direct the eventual highway to travel through southern reaches of the municipality, which was then rural in nature. Completed several decades later, Interstate 20 through the southern portion of the metropolitan area accelerated growth and economic prosperity of the city.2
Turnpike bonds were paid off 17 years ahead of schedule. As a result, the toll road was turned over to the state.1 Tolls were then dropped along the 32-mile highway in 1978.4 Interstate 30 remains as the only Interstate highway in Texas to have ever been tolled. All of the toll highway projects added or proposed since 2000 are not proposed Interstate routes.
West End – Fort Worth, TX
East End – Little Rock, AR
- Branch Routes – 3
Total Mileage – 366.76
Texas – 223.74
Cities – Fort Worth, Dallas, Greenville, Sulphur Springs, Mount Pleasant, Texarkana
- Junctions –
Arkansas – 143.02
Cities – Texarkana, Hope, Arkadelphia, Malvern, Benton, Little Rock
- Junctions –
Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
This photo is part of an Dallas Urban History set contributed by Justin Cozart.
This photo was part of an aerial set covering Dallas area roads shot by Justin Cozart.
The final portion of Interstate 30 completed in Arkansas was the stretch between Hope (Exit 30) and Prescott (Exit 45).
In Texas, Interstate 30 was an original Interstate Highway, and it was approved by the Texas State Highway Commission in 1962 with 240 miles.10 The 32-mile Dallas-Fort Turnpike was added to I-30 in 1978.
Interstate 30 was upgraded in the vicinity of Texarkana, Arkansas, with new interchange construction at both Interstates 49 and 369. Improvements to I-30 included the construction of a new travel plaza (welcome center/rest area) near the Mandeville interchange (Exit 7). This project replaced the former facility situated between the Jefferson Avenue (Exit 1) and Arkansas 245 (Exit 2) interchanges and was completed in 2004.
Additionally in the Texarkana area, two interchanges were modified. The Jefferson Avenue and Arkansas 245 (now Four States Fair Parkway) overpasses at Exits 1 and 2 respectively entailed two-lane bridges over I-30. These were replaced with wider bridges after 2004. That work preceded construction to modify the full cloverleaf interchange with State Line Avenue (U.S. 59 & 71) into a split diamond interchange using frontage roads and adjacent work to relocate ramps for both Summerhill Road (Texas 93 south / FM 1397 north) and Jefferson Avenue.
Between Benton and Little Rock, Interstate 30 was converted to three lanes in each direction. As of March 2006, three lanes were complete and open to traffic between Milepost 120 (east of the Congo Road interchange in Benton) east to Geyer Springs Road in Little Rock. Improvements at the Interstate 30 and 430 interchange in 2006 included an additional merge lane added to the on-ramp from the eastbound service road onto northbound Interstate 430 east of the Otter Creek/Mabelvale West exit. The merge lane continues onto northbound Interstate 430 over Interstate 30. The bridge at I-430 was also widened to allow two northbound lanes over I-30 as well.9
Interstate 30 between Sevier Street in Benton and University Avenue in Little Rock was originally built as a two-lane road in the mid-1950s. Known as New Benton Highway, the route utilized what is now southbound University Avenue and westbound I-30, with two additional lanes before the upgrade to I-30 by 1961. Now signed as Arkansas 5 north of Exit 118, this was also the original alignment for U.S. 67 & 70.8
North of Exit 137, University Avenue (U.S. 67) extends from Interstate 30 as a surface boulevard. This route was originally a part of Business Loop I-30 as well. The University name (which was first applied to the section north of Asher Avenue, originally named Hayes Street after the 19th President, in 1957) displaced “New Benton Highway” on the Asher/I-30 section in the 1970’s, but it remained on I-30 beyond there until the city of Little Rock insisted that it be called I-30 in the mid-1980’s.8
Interstate 30 from Sevier Street (Exit 116) in Benton east to Exit 133 (Geyer Springs Road) was upgraded starting in 2002. The work involved upgrading several bridges and widening the freeway to three lanes in both directions. Construction at the Baseline Road/Mabelvale Pike exit added a new underpass for Baseline Road below I-30. This underpass eliminated a two-way section of the south access road between Baseline Road and Mabelvale Pike. The University Avenue interchange was completely transformed as well, with the addition of loop ramps in 2005. Previous work at that interchange extended University avenue one mile south of I-30 in the late 1990s. The late 1990s also saw the addition of new crossover bridges linking the adjacent one-way service roads that run along side I-30 from Benton to University Avenue.8
Proposals once extended Interstate 30 northeast along the U.S. 67 corridor through north-central Arkansas into Missouri via Searcy, Newport, Pocahontas, Poplar Bluff, Farmington and Festus to St. Louis. As envisioned, presumably Interstate 30 would connect with U.S. 60, and the southern terminus of Interstate 57 via U.S. 60 east. In additional, a spur route (Interstate 730) was once proposed between Swifton and Jonesboro in anticipation that U.S. 67 would be renumbered as Interstate 30. According to the Poplar Bluff Daily American Republic, “If U.S. 67 is four-laned all the way to St. Louis, it likely would become part of an extended Interstate 30, which now runs from Dallas to North Little Rock.7“
However, language inserted in Fiscal Year 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development on April 21, 2016 designates the U.S. 67 freeway in Arkansas as Future I-57. A provision included in language also allows interstate standard stretches of U.S. 67 to be immediately resigned as Interstate 57.11
East End – Little Rock, Arkansas
West End – west of Fort Worth, Texas
- Texas Tollways – F.A.Q.
http://www.texastollways.com/tta/faq.aspTXDOT Texas Turnpike Authority Division.
- “Politics of Arlington Texas.” Book Review by Steve Labinski. http://texana.texascooking.com/books/politicsarlingtontexas.htm
- “Putting Customers in the Driver’s Seat: The Case for Tolls.” Reason Public Policy Institute, November 2000.
- “Texas Handbook.”
- “Interstate undergoing many changes.” Texarkana Gazette, October 17, 2003.
- “Ark., Mo. leaders share 67 plans.” Poplar Bluff Daily American Republic, David Hammer, April 23, 2004.
- Price, John; Personal Email, 12/10/04
- Price, John; Personal Email, “RE: I-30 Little Rock/Benton 3-lane nears completion” (03/24/06)
- “From Anywhere to Everywhere: The Development of the Interstate Highway System in Texas” by Penny Beaumont, Rhonda Brinkmann, David Ellis, Chris Pourteau, and Brandon V. Webb, Texas Transportation Institute, page 29.
- John Boozman United States Senator for Arkansas. (Apr 25, 2016). “Boozman Provision in Appropriations Bill Paves Way for Interstate Status of U.S. 67.” [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.boozman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/
Page updated April 25, 2016.