Interstate 49

How long is I-49?

There are currently three different sections of I-49, with plans in the works to join all three at some point in the future. The first section runs from Opelousas, LA to Texarkana, AR, and is approximately 263 miles. The second section runs from Fort Smith, AR to Bella Vista, AR, and is roughly 46 miles long. The final section runs from Pineville, MO to Kansas City, MO, at 186 miles long.

Where does I-49 end?

The southern portion terminates in Opelousas at I-10 at its southern end, and just north of Texarkana on its northern end, joining up to Highway 71. The middle portion terminates at Alma, Arkansas, where it flows into I-40, and its northern end flows into Highway 71, just south of Bella Vista near the Missouri border. The northern portion currently ends in Pineville, MO, about 10 miles north of the Missouri – Arkansas border, and ends in Kansas City where it again flows into Highway 71.

Maps of I-49

Attractions and Things to Do near I-49

Even though I-49 isn’t a completed interstate, there are still some great attractions along the three portions of it. The southern portion is a fantastic place for favorite southern foods such as Po-Boys and Southern Fried Chicken. Some of the best food can be found in so-called hole in the walls or gas stations along the way. It is also a great drive to turn on some Creedence Clearwater Revival, roll the windows down and get some Louisiana air and sunshine!

  • Le Vieux Village de Poste des Opelousas
    Opelousas, LA
  • Alexandria Zoological Park
    Alexandria, LA
  • Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site
    Natchitoches, LA
  • Natchitoches River Front and Riverbank
    Natchitoches, LA
  • Riverboat Casinos
    Shreveport, Louisiana
  • Meadows Museum of Art
    Shreveport, Louisiana
  • Barksdale Global Power Museum
    Bossier City, Louisiana
  • Devil’s Den State Park
    West Fork, Arkansas
  • Hugo’s Restaurant / Fayetteville Square
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Arkansas Air & Military Museum
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Walton’s Five & Dime – The Walmart Museum
    Bentonville, Arkansas
  • Scott Family Amazeum
    Bentonville, Arkansas
  • Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
    Bentonville, Arkansas
  • Bluff Dwellers Cave
    Jane, Missouri
  • George Washington Carver National Monument
    Joplin, Missouri
  • Science Museum at Union Station
    Kansas City, MO
  • National WWI Museum and Memorial
    Kansas City, MO
  • Power and Light District
    Kansas City, MO

When was I-49 started and completed?

Unlike many of the major interstates, I-49 was not part of the initial Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. It has and still is being pieced together to hopefully join Kansas City to New Orleans through Western Arkansas.

The earliest piece of the road that was completed was between Opelousas and Shreveport. This piece was not conceived until the mid 1970s. Construction of this portion did not begin until the early 1980s and was not completed until the late 1980s. The piece between Shreveport and Texarkana was not completed until 2013, but is now part of the southern portion.

The middle portion between Alma, Arkansas and Bella Vista, Arkansas was not completed until the mid 1990s. Prior to this completion, drivers traveling from Little Rock to Joplin had to drive Highway 71. Though it is scenic, it is a far more difficult drive, as it is a two lane highway that winds and curves through the Ozark Mountains.

The northern portion was completed in August of 2007. This stretch, between Pineville, MO and Kansas City, MO, was originally Highway 71. It was renamed to I-49 in 2012.

Plans to connect the middle portion to the northern portion have been approved. This will create a bypass around Bella Vista, Arkansas, and connect Kansas City to Little Rock via the I-40 connection in Alma. A small portion near Fort Smith, Arkansas has been started with goals of someday connecting to Texarkana and completing I-49.

States I-49 travels through

Its three pieces traverse through three different states, listed below.

  • Louisiana
  • Arkansas
  • Missouri

I-49 Major Cities

Though it is not one of the major interstates in the United States, it still passes through some impressive places, listed below:

  • Shreveport, Louisiana
  • Texarkana, Arkansas
  • Fayetteville / Bentonville, Arkansas
  • Joplin, Missouri
  • Kansas City, Missouri

Major Connections & Interchanges

  • Opelousas, LA
    I-10 E to New Orleans, LA
    I-10 W to Houston, TX
  • Shreveport, LA
    I-20 W to Dallas, TX
    I-20 E to Monroe, LA
  • Alma, AR
    I-40 E to Little Rock, Arkansas
    I-40 W to Oklahoma City, OK
  • Joplin, MO
    I-44 E to St. Louis, Missouri
    I-44 W to Tulsa, OK
  • Kansas City, MO
    I-70 E to Columbia, Missouri (Via I-435)
    I-70 W to Topeka, KS (Via I-435)