Interstate 49


There are currently two 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 Kansas City, MO, at roughtly 252 miles long.

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 northern portion terminates at Alma, Arkansas at its southern end, where it flows into I-40, and its northern portion ends in Kansas City where it again flows into Highway 71.

Attractions 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


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)

Map (Southern Portion)

Map (Northern Portion)


Miles:262 Miles (Southern)
252 Miles (Northern)
States:LA, AR, MO

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