COPY-Jonesboro greenway gets new bridge

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Imagine a long thin park that runs through an entire city with branches to interesting points.

That describes a greenway and someday there will be nearly 30 miles of greenway in Jonesboro.

An important piece of the trail was set in place today.

Across Turtle Creek, just behind the Nettleton Intermediate Center, the rumble of trucks and crane booms swinging through the air mean progress.

A hundred and 40 feet of progress spanning the creek.

Of course you can't assemble a bridge unless you can get it to the proper location. Squeezing 75 and 80 foot sections down Mary Jane Drive called for cops, escorts, and careful driving.

Jeff Owens, the Jonesboro Parks and Recreation director was watching as his "baby" was lifted off the trucks.

"It was a tight fit, a very tight fit. We gotta say thank you to the Jonesboro Police Department for providing escort and getting them here safely."

At the moment the greenway has a little over a thousand paved feet. This bridge will connect the original section which begins at Allen Park with a new section.

Owens, "Under contract we've got the first mile completely under contract and that should be done within the next month, month and a half. "

Like Rome, the greenway won't be built in a day. A grant here, a gift there it will take a while to get all 29 miles completed. This current section passes right behind Nettleton Intermediate.

It's going to provide a safe avenue for a lot of the children that live in the adjacent neighborhoods to not have to walk on Race Street and will take the greenway and be able to get to school and not have to deal with traffic.

Owens says since the route will be used by school children that's where they went looking for funding.

Owens, "This bridge was funded by Safe Routes to School grant money and since it's 100 percent grant this bridge that we're seeing going today cost the city of Jonesboro absolutely nothing."

With a thumbs up signal, the first part of the bridge lifted off the truck that had carried it from Minnesota.

For obvious reasons they had to move the bridge in 2 parts. And this is the short section which was about 65 feet long.

Erik Looney the owner of Tridant Builders was making sure his crew had all the nuts, bolts and washers to assemble the bridge. It all goes together like an erector set on a much larger scale. In fact it has to be assembled in the ditch itself.

Looney, "Once we get the other half in the ditch we're gonna lack about another hour and a half bolting it together. Then we'll have to hook both cranes to it and move it in place and we should be able to set it and hopefully we will be able to anchor it down this afternoon."

When I checked with guys around 4 on Thursday the bridge was still in the ditch being bolted together. Owens said he was going to stay till the bitter end to make sure it fit.

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