- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 16, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas highway officials say the federal government has given it permission to label portions of a western Arkansas interstate highway as I-49.

Highway department director Scott Bennett said Wednesday that new signs will start going up next week on the stretch of highway from Alma to Bella Vista. The route is now labeled as Interstate 540.

Nearly 700 signs labeling the highway will cost the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department about $66,800.

Highway Commissioner Dick Trammel says renaming the route is a part of the agency’s goal to upgrade U.S. 71 in western Arkansas to interstate highway standards. The Arkansas section of the road will eventually be incorporated into a multi-lane highway running from Kansas City, Mo., to New Orleans.

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