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Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma

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A location for the "Great River Bridge" that would carry Interstate 69 will cross the Mississippi River, just north of Arkansas City, and connect U.S. 65 near McGehee to Mississippi 1 near Benoit, Miss. The tribe opposes the bridge, saying it plans to re-establish a presence in the same area. Tribal officials say the bridge and I-69 would cross land that used to be home to the tribe. One tribal official said the two counties were home to 500 Indian cultural sites. The tribe wants the environmental and economic impact of the projects - both the bridge and I-69 - weighed together rather than separately, to determine if "this whole idea is good for the economy, protection of tribal archaeological sites, and the environment." The bridge will be part of the proposed I-69, which is to extend from Michigan to Mexico. The interstate is to cross southern Arkansas. "The (record of decision) is the final approval needed on the selected location of this bridge," Highway Commissioner John Lipton said May 3. "The next step will involve selecting a consultant to design the bridge and accompanying roadways," state highway director Dan Flowers said.