LITTLE ROCK The state Highway and Transportation Department chose the apparent low bidders on $92.3 million in road projects Wednesday, including $32.2 million for a section of a planned 38-mile highway that will eventually connect Interstate 530 around Pine Bluff with the proposed I-69 in Southeastern Arkansas.

LITTLE ROCK The state Highway and Transportation Department chose the apparent low bidders on $92.3 million in road projects Wednesday, including $32.2 million for a section of a planned 38-mile highway that will eventually connect Interstate 530 around Pine Bluff with the proposed I-69 in Southeastern Arkansas.

Low bidder on the Route 530 project in Lincoln County was Graves and Associates Inc. of Pine Bluff.

Highway department spokesman Randy Ort said grading of the 7.7 mile stretch of roadway is almost completed and the $32.2 million project will include setting the road bed and surfacing from Arkansas 212 west of Star City to Arkansas 11 south of Star City.

It also includes setting the road bed and resurfacing a section of roadway from Arkansas 11 to U.S. Highway 425.

When the project and several others along the corridor is finished, the 38-mile two-lane highway, referred to as the I-530 or I-69 connector, will stretch from Pine Bluff to the proposed I-69 route near Wilmar in Drew County, Ort said.

In November, highway department officials broke ground on the first phase of the I-69 project in Arkansas, an 8.5 mile span between U.S. 278 and U.S. 425 South. The overall I-69 highway in Arkansas will be a tiny portion of what will be a 2,700-mile highway from Canada to the Mexican border.

Ort said $175 million has already been spent on the I-530 or I-69 connector, and when the section in Lincoln County is completed, along with the other sections, all but 9.5 miles of the project, with an estimated cost of between $50 million to $60 million, will remain.

Highway officials plan to eventually widen the connector from two to four lanes and construct interchanges. Estimated cost on that project is about $350 million, Ort said.

Also Wednesday, Martin Marietta Materials Inc. of Hot Springs was apparent low bidder on a $10 million project to resurface I-30 from the Sevier Street exit to U.S. 70 southwest of Benton.