LITTLE ROCK — The state Highway Commission on Wednesday chose apparent low bids on nine construction projects across the state Wednesday, including $22 million to complete a nearly 5.5 mile stretch of U.S. 71 across Fort Chaffee.

Randy Ort, spokesman for the commission, said the new four-lane highway will connect U.S. 71 near Jenny Lind with Arkansas 22 near Central City.

"We’ve already had grading and structures work completed there, we’ve got some interchange work still work under way, this is the base and surface," he said. "This will complete that project and it will eventually be part of Interstate 49."

Eventually, I-49 will run north-south along the entire length of western Arkansas from Missouri to Louisiana.