Arkansas 226 between Cash and Gibson, Arkansas - 2013.
Grading appears for both the Cash Bypass and Highway 49 Connector along the Arkansas 226 corridor west of Jonesboro in 2013. The Cash Bypass project was let January 2013. The Highway 49 Connector was let December 2011. Widening of AR 226 between the two roadways was let in separate projects in September 2012 and November 2012.
The Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce requested the Interstate 730 designation for the upgraded stretch of Arkansas 226, between the U.S. 67 freeway and Interstate 555 in Jonesboro.1 Arkansas 226 travels 12.2 miles east from U.S. 67 to U.S. 49 at Gibson. The remainder of the route utilizes U.S. 49, a surface route extending 6.0 miles east and north to a parclo interchange with Interstate 555 & U.S. 63.
Arkansas 226 Upgrade
Plans to widen Arkansas 226 to a four-lane route from U.S. 67 east to U.S. 49 consisted of upgrading existing AR 226 to an at-grade route and building a south bypass of Cash. This widened stretch ties into a new 1.8-mile alignment (Highway 49 Connector) from AR 226 southeast to U.S. 49 at Gibson. Originally the chamber of commerce requested that the corridor be freeway-grade, but the route was built at-grade instead.
A five section project involved upgrading Arkansas 226 to a four-lane corridor. The sections were completed as follows:2,3
October 2012 - 4.0 miles of Arkansas 226 completed from U.S. 67 east to the Cash Bypass at a cost of $15 million.
Late 2015 - 1.6 miles of Arkansas 226 along the Cash Bypass at a cost of $6.3 million.
Late 2015 - 5.1 miles of Arkansas 226 from the Cash Bypass east to the Highway 49 Connector at a cost of $45.3 million.
June 23, 20164 - 1.7 miles of the Highway 49 Connector from AR 226 southeast to U.S. 49 at a cost of $18 million.
I-730 was never approved by AASHTO, and furthermore was premature as Interstate 30 was not assigned to the U.S. 67 freeway (I-57 was formally proposed for the route in 2016).
I-730 High Priority Corridor
The proposed for route I-730 is part of High Priority Corridor 52: Arkansas Route 226 from U.S. 67 to U.S. 49.
Western Terminus - U.S. 67 - western Craighead County
A parclo interchange joins Arkansas 226 with U.S. 67 in a rural area to the east of Swifton. This junction would need upgrades to become a full freeway to freeway interchange.
Eastern Terminus - Interstate 555 & U.S. 64 - Jonesboro
Arkansas 226 ties into U.S. 49 at Gibson on the rural outskirts of Jonesboro. U.S. 49 turns east from there along an increasingly suburban route to Valley View and the Interstate 555 & U.S. 63 freeway at Southwest Drive. Substantial upgrades would be needed for U.S. 49 to upgrade it to limited access standards.
"Chamber plans D.C. visit to discuss area's concerns." Jonesboro Sun, February 15, 2003.