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 through 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 Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike in 1972. The toll road ran east from Oakland Boulevard in Fort Worth to IH 35E in Dallas. Most interchanges along the route consisted of trumpets with access roads connecting adjoining roads. [Click for larger]
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.
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
Western Terminus - Interstate 20 - west of Fort Worth, Texas
Perspective from Interstate 30 west
There are no warning signs or other notifications along westbound Interstate 30 of the pending junction with Interstate 20. Instead, the freeway approaches the overpass carrying the westbound lanes of Interstate 20 over Interstate 30. Photos taken by Robert Lee (06/02/06).
The zero milepost sits under the Interstate 20 overpass. After this point, Interstate 30 west merges onto Interstate 20 west, thus marking the end of Interstate 30. In typical Texas fashion, there is no end shield for Interstate 30 west. Photo taken by Robert Lee (06/02/06).
Perspective from Interstate 20 east
Four lanes of Interstate 20 push eastward toward the split with Interstate 30 at Exit 421. The Interstate segment to Interstate 820 predates the Interstate 20 segment to the same highway by a number of years. Interstate 30 between Dallas and Fort Worth has been around since the 1960s as the Dallas/Fort Worth Turnpike. Photos taken by Justin Cozart (09/02) and Robert Lee (06/02/06).
Now within one half mile of the Interstate 20/30 split, the first Interstate 30 interchange is Exit 3A/B with the Jim Wright Freeway - Interstate 820. Otherwise Interstate 30 is designated the East-West Freeway as it enters Fort Worth. Photos taken by Justin Cozart (09/02) and Robert Lee (06/02/06).
Interstate 30 eastbound begins as Interstate 20 branches to the southeast to bypass the city of Fort Worth. Interstate 30 will reach downtown Fort Worth in 14 miles and the city of Dallas in 40 miles. Interstate 20 enters the city limits of Forth Worth in ten miles. Photos taken by Justin Cozart (09/02) and Robert Lee (06/02/06).
Eastern Terminus - Interstate 40 - Little Rock, Arkansas
Perspective from Interstate 30 east
Interstate 30 eastbound as it crosses the Arkansas River and leaves the city limits of Little Rock for North Little Rock. The first of two interchanges for North Little Rock is with U.S. 70 at Exit 141B. The Interstate 30 pull-through panel now features Interstate 40. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
The final exits of Interstate 30 are that of Exit 143A/B for Interstate 40. This image shows the 1.25-mile guide sign for the final interchange. Exit 142 of 15th Street serves North Little Rock. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
The previous set of signs featured button copy lettering and borders. Additionally the new reflective signage installation included the dismantling of the highway lighting fixtures and supports. Vidcap taken by 05/30/95.
The three eastbound (actually heading due north) lanes of Interstate 30 approach Interstate 40. The middle lane is available for both west and eastbound Interstate 40, while the outside lanes are exit-only. U.S. 65, 67, and 167 are all overlapped with Interstate 30 at this point. U.S. 65 departs via Interstate 40 west while the U.S. 67/167 family turn northward for two miles on Interstate 40 eastbound. Note the speed limit of 60 miles per hour for this final section of Interstate 30 as it travels north. Top photo by Steve Hanudel (08/18/05); bottom photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
The last sign bridge of Exit 143 before Interstate 30 branches into east and westbound ramps to Interstate 40. Eastward, Interstate 40 travels to the city of Memphis in 132 miles. U.S. 67/167 share a freeway from North Little Rock northeastward to Searcy and Newport. This freeway is touted as a potential extension of Interstate 57. Top photo taken by Steve Hanudel (08/18/05); Bottom photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
This photo shows the previous set of overheads and lighting assemblies present on the sign bridge depicted in the above photobox. Vidcap taken 05/30/95.
Interstate 40 Arkansas shields, posted at the gore point of Exit 143A/B. Traffic continuing westward will see the marriage of U.S. 65 and Interstate 40 endure until Exit 125 at Conway, a distance of 28 miles. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (08/18/05).
The proximity of Arkansas 107 to the fold allows for an independent ramp from Interstate 30 west/U.S. 65 north. The north-south highway connects North Little Rock with Sherwood and Macon. Traffic otherwise will merge onto Interstate 40 ahead. Photo taken by Eric Stuve (12/19/02).
Perspective from Interstate 40 west
This mileage sign, 14 miles to the east of downtown Little Rock, is the first indication of the upcoming Interstate 30 terminal interchange. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Just after the merge of U.S. 67/167 southbound onto Interstate 40 westbound at the North Hills Boulevard overpass (Exit 154) is this set of signs for the pending split of Interstate 30 west from Interstate 40 west. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
The westbound beginning of Interstate 30 departs Interstate 40 from the left as Exit 153. U.S. 67/167 depart as well, as U.S. 65 takes their place with Interstate 40 westbound. Hazardous Cargo is prohibited from traveling the downtown Little Rock area freeways. Traffic continuing westward will reach Fort Smith in 150 miles. Photo taken by Eric Stuve (12/19/02).
A warmer and sunny view of the Exit 153 departure of Interstate 30 westbound from Interstate 40 west. The interchange between the two highways is a tri-level stack interchange. Situated nearby is Exit 153A for John F. Kennedy Drive (Arkansas 107). Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
The first westbound Interstate 30 reassurance shield as seen from the Interstate 40 westbound mainline. The first interchange of Interstate 30 is Exit 142 with East 15th Street in North Little Rock. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Perspective from Interstate 40 east
Just outside the Little Rock metropolitan area is this mileage sign with the first indication of Interstate 30 from the west. This sign is five miles west of the northern terminus of Interstate 430, the next eastbound interchange. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Interstate 40 eastbound at Exit 153A/Arkansas 107 - John F. Kennedy Drive, just west of the Interstate 30 terminal interchange and split with U.S. 65 south. Arkansas 107 sees its northbound beginning here and travels northward to Sherwood and Little Rock Airbase. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Exit 153B for the westbound beginning of Interstate 30 departs from Interstate 40 east. There are four more North Little Rock interchanges along Interstate 40 in the next five miles. Interstate 30 meanwhile enters downtown Little Rock in three miles. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
"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. http://tti.tamu.edu/interstate_anniversary/white_paper/
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/ 2016/4/boozman-provision-in-appropriations-bill-paves-way-for-interstate-status-of-u-s-67