Interstate 49 is an Interstate Highway in the US state of Missouri. The highway runs from the Arkansas border at Jane through Joplin to Kansas City. The route is an upgrade from US 71, which has been graded as grade. Interstate 49 is 290 kilometers long.
- WATCHTUTORIALS.ORG: Features why Missouri has the nickname as Show Me State and its economy, history and geography.
I-49 at Joplin.
I-49 at Kansas City.
Interstate 49 in Arkansas comes from the urban area of Northwest Arkansas and enters the state of Missouri through a hilly and wooded region. I-49 then heads north to Joplin more than 60 kilometers north. This route leads through a slightly hilly area with scattered forests. Major connections are on US 60 at Neosho and Interstate 44 at the town of Joplin. At the interchange with I-44, I-49 exits for a short double-numbering east to Fidelity, then I-49 exits again. State Route 249 is an alternate highway route to Carthage.
I-49 itself also passes by Carthage, then begins a 160-mile route north through a rolling prairie area in the westernmost part of the state of Missouri, a short distance parallel to the Kansas border. On this stretch, I-49 only serves small towns, Nevada being the most important. There is also the main intersecting road, US 54. I-49 curves northwest at Harrisonville to go a little closer to the Kansas border.
Interstate 49 then runs through the Kansas City metropolitan area and opens up the southern neighborhoods and suburbs. The urban part has 2×3 lanes. At the Jeffreys suburb, I-49 ends at an interchange with Interstate 435, which forms Kansas City’s beltway. US 71 then continues into the city as a highway to downtown Kansas City. The reason this is not part of I-49 is a number of traffic lights halfway through the route.
- acronymmonster.com: Provides state overview of Missouri and its alternative name as The Show Me State
US 71 in Missouri has been gradually converted into a freeway. The road was widened to 2×2 lanes in the 1950s or earlier, but the first section of highway was built in the 1960s, the Harrisonville Bypass. The section through the south of Kansas City was also constructed at that time, but the two routes did not yet connect with each other. In about 1972, the section between Harrisonville and the southern suburbs of Kansas City was opened as a freeway. It was also during this time that the first grade separated intersections appeared at Butler and Nevada. The highway around Carthage opened in the late 1980s, followed by the Neosho-Joplin highway in the late 1990s, which was extended southwards to south of Anderson in early 2000.
Between 2010 and 2012, the rest of US 71 was converted to I-49 by creating grade-separated intersections where it hadn’t been before. In 2011, there were still four missing links. As of February 2012, some 1,200 signposts marked I-49 have been installed and since December 2012, the route has been signposted as I-49.
The last missing section in southern Missouri was the Bella Vista Bypass, which is part Missouri and mostly in the state of Arkansas. Traffic here used the US 71 for an even longer period of time . On April 1, 2020, a $58 million contract was awarded to build the missing 7.5 kilometers between Pineville and the Arkansas border. This section opened on September 30, 2021, concurrent with I-49 in Arkansas.
I-49 is currently not serviced for the portion of US 71 between I-435 and I-70 in Kansas City. Making this route grade-separated is considerably more expensive and has already been stopped in the past.
24,000 vehicles drive daily at the Arkansas border, dropping to 14,000 vehicles between Anderson and Neosho and 15,700 vehicles just before Joplin. Around Carthage there are 13,700 vehicles, a number which remains stable at 12,500 to 15,000 vehicles as far as Harrisonville. There are 30,000 vehicles running between Harrisonville and Kansas City, rising to 89,000 vehicles before the Kansas City interchange with I-470.