Interstate 440 Arkansas

Routing

Interstate 440 is the eastern bypass of Little Rock and North Little Rock. Interstate 440 also facilitates traffic bound for Adams Field, the Little Rock Airport, while overall providing a bypass to long distance travellers between Dallas/Forth Worth and Memphis.

The Northbelt Freeway section of Interstate 440 opened as of February 2003. However, the state has not signed it as Interstate 440, instead opting for Arkansas 440. AHTD indicates that that in order for this route to be classified as Interstate 440, the Interstate must connect to an Interstate at each end.1 The U.S. 67/167 freeway is a rumored candidate for a eastern extension of Interstate 30 or a southerly extension of Interstate 57. Until that designation or if another is created, the highway cannot receive Interstate signing.

Otherwise the Northbelt Freeway is planned to extend westward to the Interstate 430/40 interchange at Crystal Hill. The roadway will be designed as a four-lane, divided highway.2

History

During its initial planning stages, Interstate 440 was often referred to as the East Belt Freeway.


Western Terminus - Interstate 30 and Interstate 530 - south of Little Rock, Arkansas
Perspective from Interstate 440 west
Interstate 440 westbound at the final mainline interchange/Exit 1 - Arkansas 365/Confederate Boulevard. Displayed here is the hazardous materials restriction advisory sign for Interstate 30. All hazmats must avoid the central business district of Little Rock via the Interstate system of Interstate 30 (west of I-440), 40, 430, and 440. Bans are in effect for all of Interstate 630 and Interstate 30 between Interstate 530/440 to 40. Interstate 30 turns northward at the upcoming interchange for the final five miles of the freeway. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
As of 1999, the U.S. 65/167 freeway spur between Little Rock and Pine Bluff is upgraded to Interstate 530. Based on the functionality of Interstate 440 as a Little Rock bypass for through traffic interests, the westbound mainline defaults onto Interstate 30 west. Therefore Exit 138A/B serves Interstate 30 east and Interstate 530 south. The exit numbers reflect the Interstate 30 mileage to the Lone Star State. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Interstate 440 for all intents and purposes draws to a close at Exit 138A/Interstate 30/U.S. 70 east/U.S. 65/67/167 north. Exit 138B of the southbound beginning of Interstate 530 is situated around the bend in this spacious interchange. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Perspective from Interstate 30 east
Interstate 30/U.S. 67 northbound prepare to enter the dual termini of Interstate 530 north and Interstate 440 west. U.S. 70 is introduced to the equation of Exit 138 on Interstate 30 eastbound guide signs. This is in contradiction to the official 2003 Arkansas State map. The publication maintains U.S. 70 shields on Broadway and Roosevelt Road through the streets of Little Rock. To stir the pot so to speak, U.S. 65 and 167 add to the mix of Interstate 30/U.S. 67-70 as they jointly enter downtown Little Rock. Photo by Jeff Morrison (12/28/01).
Note the construction and asphalt pavement in the above photograph. A rare conversion has taken place that has resulted in the transition of the Interstate 30 roadway from an asphalt based surface to a concrete composed surface. Normally in highway engineering the conversion is the other way around as asphalt construction results in cheaper and shorter costs. This project is part of the Interstate Rehabilitation Program AHTD is currently undertaking. Otherwise this sign bridge advises motorists of the upcoming Exit 138A/B interchange. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Exit 138A departs well ahead of the Interstate 30/530 ramp intermingling to the east. This two lane ramp begins the Southeast Bypass of Interstate 440. The recently completed Arkansas 440 allows U.S. 67/167 based traffic interests to Jacksonville and Jonesboro to bypass Downtown Little Rock altogether and avoid any Interstate 40 overlapping. Photo by Jeff Morrison (12/28/01).
Springtime view of the Interstate 440 split from Interstate 30 eastbound. In addition to the east Little Rock functionality of Interstate 440, the freeway also expedites Memphis and other Interstate 40-based motorists a quick departure of the Little Rock metropolitan area. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Slightly further east is situated the Exit 138B off-ramp to Interstate 530/U.S. 65/167 south. The Pine Bluff spur of Interstate 30 reaches the western portions of that city at Exit 35/Business U.S. 65. For Interstate 30 eastbound, a merge onto the Interstate 530 northbound roadway is to come. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Perspective from Interstate 530 north
Northbound Interstate 530 and hidden U.S. 65/167 as the trio enters the city limits of Little Rock. One mile to the north, with the downtown Little Rock skyline looking onward, is the final Interstate 530 interchange/Exit 1A/B. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Now within one-half mile of the Interstate 530 terminus and Interstate 440 eastbound beginning/Exit 1B. Mainline Interstate 530 northbound traffic defaults onto Interstate 30 eastbound into Downtown Little Rock. Therefore no exit number is associated with the transition. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Crossing the Fourche Creek, a tributary of the Arkansas River, Interstate 530 prepares to yield the Exit 1A ramp for Interstate 30 west. Interstate 30 westbound remains within the city limits of Little Rock for another 12 miles through to Exit 126, the Pulaski/Saline County line. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
A second guide sign advises motorists for the Exit 1A ramp to Interstate 30 west. Featured in the background is the Exit 1B ramp departure for the eastbound beginning of Interstate 440. The Southeast Bypass serves Little Rock National Airport at Exit 3 and the Port of Little Rock and Industrial Park at Exit 5. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Perspective from Interstate 30 west
Pressing southward out of the central business district of Little Rock, Interstate 30 nears the original U.S. 65 at Exit 139A/Arkansas 365. A frontage road system is in place along Interstate 30 between Interstate 440/530 and 6th Street near downtown. With this in mind, a system of slip ramps represent the Exit 139A interchange. 1.25 miles to the south is the pervasive Interstate 440/530 interchange of Exit 138. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Continuing south on Interstate 30 over the Union Pacific Railroad. Interstate 30 lane allocations reveal two mainline travel lanes and two lanes for Exit 138/Interstate 440 west and Interstate 530 south. Note that Interstate 530 (and the previously hidden U.S. 65/167) are not assigned an exit number. This is based on the continuation of the north-south alignment of Interstate 30 to south out of town. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
With passing now prohibited, Interstate 30 enters the Exit 138 interchange of Interstate 440 east and Interstate 530 south. The overpass to which the panels are attached is the westbound Interstate 440 roadway to Interstate 30 west and 530 south. The Interstate 30 eastbound mainline can be seen entering from the right. Not mentioned thus far, U.S. 67 continues in a hidden capacity westward along Interstate 30 to Exit 114 west of Benton. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Beyond the Interstate 30 departure, the first Interstate 530 pull-through panel reveals itself. Below is the Interstate 30 eastbound mainline as it merges with Interstate 530 north to the left. Exit 138 departs just beyond this underpass for Interstate 440 east. There are four interchanges of Interstate 440 that reside within the city limits of Little Rock. Interstate 530/U.S. 65/167 depart the city limits one mile to the south. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
A second reminder of Exit 138, the eastbound beginning of Interstate 440. There are three Interstate 440's in existance and this one is the farthest west at the present time. At one point however, an Interstate 440 was to exist in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. That route became part of the Interstate 44 corridor through the Oklahoma capital city. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Eastern Terminus - Interstate 40 - east of North Little Rock, Arkansas
Perspective from Interstate 440 east
Interstate 440 east as it enters its final half mile. A prelude to the transition to the new Arkansas 440 is posted here at the U.S. 70/Galloway Road overcrossing (Exit 10). Exit 11 facilitates the traffic movements to Interstate 40 ahead. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Directional ramps move Interstate 440 motorists onto Interstate 40 east and west via Exit 11. Traffic continuing north will reach the U.S. 67/167 in approximately four miles. An interchange with Arkansas 161 to the city of Jacksonville is featured in between the termini of Arkansas 440. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Split of the Exit 11 ramp to Interstate 40 from Interstate 440 eastbound. Interstate 40 westbound travels back to North Little Rock. Eastward Interstate 40 ventures through rural forest 118 miles to West Memphis and Interstate 55. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Perspective from Arkansas 440 south
Arkansas 440 southbound one mile north of the transition to Interstate 440 at Interstate 40. Westbound Interstate 40 is signed with Fort Smith in place of North Little Rock or Little Rock itself. Also note that Arkansas 440 does not continue the Interstate 440 exit scheme, otherwise this would be Exit 11. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
The right-hand lane becomes an exit-only affair for Interstate 40 westbound. Notice that all the letters for the control city of Fort Smith are capitalized. This is reminiscent of the now abandoned Mississippi signing practice of having all guide sign characters in capital letters. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Traffic for Interstate 40 westbound departs Arkansas 440 at the Eanes Road overpass. The exit-only indication is somewhat misleading as the right-hand lane continues southward, although for a short distance, to the Interstate 40 overcrossing. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Interstate 440 arises out of the ashes of Arkansas 440 at the Interstate 40 eastbound cloverleaf. The first southbound interchange of Interstate 440 is Exit 10 with U.S. 70 along Galloway Road. That is the first of three interchanges to serve the eastern reaches of North Little Rock. The other two junctions are Exit 8/Faulkner Lake Road and Exit 7/U.S. 165. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Perspective from Interstate 40 east
New guide signs for the Arkansas 440 extension feature extra large shields for the state highway. The change in guide signs also sees the replacement of the Airport and Port of Little Rock control points with simply Texarkana. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
The previous button copy version of the Exit 159 guide sign Pictured in the above photograph. As visible with the now removed control points, Interstate 440 serves the port of Little Rock along the Arkansas River. Vidcap taken 05/30/95.
Exit 159 now departs Interstate 40 eastbound via a new collector distributor roadway. An airport placard is attached to the Interstate 440/Arkansas 440 panel for the National Airport accessible by Exit 3/Airport Drive. The following interchange of Interstate 40 eastbound is at Exit 161/Arkansas 391 for the town of Galloway. Photos taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03) and Steve Hanudel (08/18/05).
Replaced button copy overhead signage at Exit 159/Interstate 440 west on Interstate 40 east. Continuing eastward, Interstate 40 reaches the Volunteer State and city of Memphis in 126 miles. Vidcap taken 05/30/95.
What should be Exit 159B carries Interstate 40 eastbound drivers onto the westbound beginning of Interstate 440 in this scene. A cloverleaf ramp facilitates traffic to Arkansas 440 north in 0.25 miles at what should be Exit 159A. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Perspective from Interstate 40 west
Westbound Interstate 40, one mile out from the Interstate 440/Arkansas 440 joint termini. The frontage road to the right is Eanes Road. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
The original control points of Interstate 440 on the now replaced one-mile guide sign of Exit 159. Texarkana is now the destination of choice of Interstate 440 for the connection Interstate 30. The Arkansas and Texas border city is 147 miles to the south. Photo taken by Eric Stuve (12/19/02).
A second reminder for the Interstate 440 westbound beginning of Exit 159. Interstate 40 enters the Great Little Rock metropolitan area at the upcoming interchange. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
A rainy look at the Interstate 440/Exit 159 guide sign shown in the above photobox. The next stem of Interstate 40 westbound is Interstate 540, 152 miles to the east at Van Buren. Photo taken by Eric Stuve (12/19/02).
Interstate 440 westbound begins from Interstate 40 west. The next Interstate 40 interchange is Exit 157 with Arkansas 161. This is the same state route that intersects the only mainline Arkansas 440 North Belt Freeway interchange three miles to the north. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Pre-Arkansas 440 Exit 159 sign bridge of Interstate 40 westbound. Downtown Little Rock is nine miles to the southwest via Interstate 40 and Interstate 30. The capital city of Arkansas is home to 183,133 residents. Photo taken by Eric Stuve (12/19/02).
Arkansas 440 northbound begins to the right (Exit 159B). Traffic remaining straight enters Interstate 440 (Exit 159A). An auxiliary guide sign reassures motorists that the ramp is indeed to Interstate 440 west. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).

Sources:

  1. Arkansas 440 information courtesy Matt Hollis
  2. "Notice to Media." Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD), September 25, 2003.


Page Updated May 21, 2006.