Wednesday, February 13, 2008

US 271 in Arkansas

I've been reading some old maps the last few days. I'm doing a little research for the US Ends webpage into former termini for US 271 and US 270 in Arkansas. Why? Mostly for the heck of it, partially out of curiousity.

US 271's north end has always been in Fort Smith. It's original 1926 end was at US 71 and US 64 (Towson St and Garrison Ave). It then crossed into Oklahoma over the Poteau River somewhere around E Street (the bridge is long gone). Sometime in the 1930's, it was moved south to Y Street and Highway 71 and crossed into Oklahoma around Arkoma and what is now Oklahoma Highway 9A. In the 1950's, it was moved to its current end at Business US 71 and Arkansas Highway 255 in southern Fort Smith heading south approximately 2 miles the crossing into Oklahoma near Pocola... or so I believed.

I was looking at some Arkansas maps the other day and found a 4th terminus for US 271. It's actually what would have been its 3rd endpoint and isn't far off from it's currrent terminus. It dates back to circa 1950 to around 1975 and is at US71, Towson St and Waco St. 71 curves SE and becomes Zero Street before turning off and heading south towards Texarkana. What 271 did was follow Towson, then turn slightly southeast then south towards what is now Interstate 540 at the south end of town. So the difference between the 3rd terminus and now is only about 1-2 blocks. It appears to have been moved when Highway 255 was constructed as a truck bypass.

Now as for 271's southern terminus, that's a tale for another day. Suffice it to say it was changed from US 71 near Mena to ending now near Tyler, Texas.