Old Bridges Need Work, Say Residents

December 2, 2002
Posted at: 9:10 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, Ark. -- Fixing rural bridges has become the rallying cry for some Craighead County residents, who claim that the county government is doing little to ensure their safety.

Some Craighead County residents have been pressing the county for months now to fix some old bridges that they say are unsafe. The county is trying to build bridges by saying it is doing all it can as fast as it can.

Lester Moss is complaining about a small bridge off of County Road 425. Farmers had to remove one of the railings so that their equipment could make it through the narrow roadway.

"There has been people to run off this bridge," Moss said. "This bridge was built in 1939, the old WPA. President (Franklin D.) Roosevelt had this bridge built."

Next summer, the farmers will be up and down this road with all their farm equipment. They say that now would be the best time to replace this bridge. However, work in other areas are preventing any new projects from beginning.

"We told (them) when we got done with the project in Pointsett County, we'd come up here and build a bridge," Ed Hill, county road superintendant, said. "With the equipment we got, the thing is we can't just pick up today and be up here tomorrow. We have to finish that project first."

The project currently being worked on, according to Hill, will relieve a lot of the flooding challenges in south Jonesboro. Hill says that relieving the flooding is a more pressing issue. The story is a little different across town at a wooden bridge, that is  because the county has already been out to fix it.

"It's not received nothing but patch jobs," said William Gossett. "There's a bridge that needs to be put in there before somebody gets hurt."

"(That) bridge goes over to a couple of hunting cabins," Hill countered. "It has light vehicle traffic only. The bridge is plenty safe for what traffic is on the bridge."

"At times there are alot of people that go over (the wooden bridge)," Coleman said. "There are people that go across that bridge everyday. May be two today, may be thirty tomorrow."

That is what Gossett and Moss are worried about. What could happen tomorrow.