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Arkansas reorganizes Interstate 69 group

CAMDEN, Ark. — The South Arkansas I-69 Coalition has been reorganized in an effort to advance plans for an interstate highway across the region, according to a top official of the group.

“The group had become inactive and, unfortunately, so had the national group,” Michael Jones of Dumas told other members of the coalition at a meeting in Camden.

[ITAL]The Camden News[ITAL] reported that Jones, president and CEO of Merchants and Farmers Bank of Dumas, was elected vice president of the South Arkansas I-69 Coalition at a Nov. 12 meeting.

Jones told those at the meeting that the coalition was reorganized at a meeting held in Dumas. Representatives from most of the counties along the proposed route attended that meeting, he said.

But before that reorganization, he said, he found himself one of only two Arkansans at a meeting of the full I-69 Coalition in Memphis, Tenn.

Plans call for I-69 to connect the eastern sections of the Midwest — and Canada — with markets in Mexico, carrying traffic from the Detroit area to Texas. The interstate would enter Arkansas from the northeast at a new bridge across the Mississippi River, east of Dumas and north of McGehee in Desha County, and cross the region diagonally, entering Louisiana southwest of El Dorado on its way to Shreveport, La.

Jones said construction should begin soon on the first section of I-69 in Arkansas, near Monticello. Mississippi, he said, is “just a step ahead of Arkansas as far as work” on the highway.

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