Transportation

The Fort Smith Region’s prime geographical location makes it an ideal place to live, work, and do business. The area is connected to the nation by road, rail, river, and air, and has quick access to some of the country’s busiest transportation routes.

Road
Interstate 40
Much of the Fort Smith region has large sections of I-40 running directly through it. The east-west route is the third longest in the entire country, spanning 2,500 miles from California to North Carolina.

Interstate 49
The region also has a major north-south connection with the recent expansion of I-49. With certain areas currently under construction, the route will serve as direct link from New Orleans to Canada.

Rail
Since its establishment, the railroad has played an important role in the development of the Fort Smith region. Millions of pounds in freight makes its way up and down the region’s railways. Three Class-I railroads, including the BNSF, the KCS, and the UP railways run operations in the area. The A&M (Arkansas & Missouri) Railroad, a Class-III line, also provides short-line freight service.

River
The Arkansas River is one of the country’s busiest waterways for commercial barge traffic. The Ports of Fort Smith and Van Buren play a key role in importing, exporting goods, and storing goods for the area. The McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System , which runs 445 miles, connects the Fort Smith region to the entire inland waterway system.

Air
The Fort Smith area also benefits from having numerous options for air travel. The Fort Smith Regional Airport offers direct flights to two of the nation’s busiest international hubs. The site is also known for its beautiful facility and convenient rental car and taxi service options. Several cities are also home to smaller airports, including the Boonville Municipal Airport and Poteau’s Robert S. Kerr Airport. The Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (known as XNA) is located just over an hour away in Highfill. Residents and travelers passing through are also within a short driving distance of several national and international airports, including:

  • Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas (163 miles from Fort Smith)
  • DFW International Airport in Dallas, Texas (268 miles from Fort Smith)
  • Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma (120 miles from Fort Smith)
  • Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (193 miles from Fort Smith)