BONO, AR (KAIT) -The Bono bridge has been around since 1882.
If you grew up around Bono or Jonesboro, chances are you have driven over the bridge at least once.
But, now the old bridge is showing its age, and a recent 2 vehicle accident has forced the county and the Burlington Northern Santa Se railroad to jointly close the bridge.
Now, I have to admit I have sat on the bridge and dangled my feet over as a train roared underneath...very cool.
There is a lot of nostalgia connected to this bridge.
Shelly Williams lives about 50 yards from the bridge. "It's been here a hundred years. It's a piece of history. I'd like to see it stay; I know it needs a lot of work, but I'd like to see it stay."
Technically it's 127 years old, being built in 1882, and is now owned by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad.
Even being relatively isolated, the bridge sees a lot of traffic--necessary or otherwise.
The bridge links CR 352 and 353. Craighead County Road Superintendent, L.M. Duncan, watched as cars slowed and then passed on after seeing the bridge was closed.
"A lot of people use this road for cutting through going over to Highway 63 to keep from driving all way round. It's about 4 miles further if you have to drive all way round."
But, now everybody must drive around. Just off 63 South of Bono, the "Road Closed" and "Bridge Out" signs on 352 tells the story.
But, if you still insist on driving down the road, the steel beam on the West side of the bridge or the concrete block on the East will certainly stop you.
A couple of vehicle accidents prompted this closing as evidenced by this stack of parts and the broken railing hanging down from the South side of the bridge.
Duncan says, "A couple of cars, one missed the road and run down in there, but another car went up on the side and knocked the banister down, but it also hit the pier that holds the bridge up."
Even though one of the vehicles landed upside down on the tracks, nobody was seriously injured; but the damage forced the railroad to close the bridge.
Since it's owned by the railroad the county cannot work on the bridge.
County Road Superintendent, L.M. Duncan, has had a meeting with the BNSF in regards to the bridge. This meeting has set the bridge's fate.
"The railroad has agreed that they are gonna repair this bridge, and hopefully have it open within a month."
But, could it take longer? There is a lot of rotten wood around the base of the bridge, and a couple of places where somebody has even tried to burn the support beams.
But, people who live around the bridge say they don't want steel and concrete.
Williams, "Just fix it up. It's got to stay old looking like that though."
Duncan says the prognosis looks good, but there will have to be some changes in the future.
"They're gonna keep this bridge just the way it is. In the future, somewhere down the road, we'll probably wind up building a new concrete bridge in a different location."