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— The U.S. Senate has approved some $3 million for Interstate 540 improvements, Arkansas' U.S. senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor announced in a news release on Sept. 17.

It's part of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010, the release states.

Altogether, the annual spending bill, which funds the Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, contains more than $13 million in transportation and economic priorities for Arkansas, including the following:

• I-540: Fayetteville-North Interchange improvements - $3 million.

With rapid population growth in the region, traffic volumes grow and produce urban traffic congestion. The commercial growth of the region has gravitated to the interchanges on I-540, resulting in queues that back up on interstate ramps and occasionally interfere with interstate operations, the senators said in the release.

• Interstate 430/630: Interchange modification - $3 million.

Planned improvements will modernize a 25- to 30-year-old cloverleaf interchange between two major urban interstates and eliminate congestion during peak travel periods, the press release states.

• Interstate 69/Great River bridge: Highway 65-MS Highway 1 - $2 million.

Funds will be used to continue engineering, design and right-of-way acquisition for I-69/Great River Bridge, a portion of a four-lane, controlled-access highway, the release states.

News, Pages 3 on 09/23/2009

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