ASU overpass to open by end of year; Bridge St. Bridge to get maintenance

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The new overpass at ASU is expected to open before the end of the year, and the more than 80-year-old bridge on Bridge Street is set for some major maintenance.

David Handwork, Director of Planning and Construction at ASU, says the light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to shine.

"We've had great construction weather," he said. "Basically, the overpasses are done. Now, we are in the finishing stages. "

Today, a crew from Cameron Construction was working on a bridge sidewalk while RGB Mechanical Contractors, Inc. was putting up lights. They have 54 left to install.

But the big question is; When will the parkway be open?

This sounds like the old song, "How long has this been going on?"

Handwork, "We've been going about a decade at least. And it's about to come to an end."

Handwork says that the project is on pace for a federally funded project. Phase 1 over the Burlington tracks is pretty much complete. Handwork says phase 2 which connects to Matthews is getting there.

Handwork, "We were scheduled to be complete in February but it looks like we're progressing well with the good weather we have had this Fall so we should be ahead of schedule on that."

At Caraway, cars were still having to wait for slow moving trains but that won't be happening too much longer.

First up will be the completion of the  intersection at Washington and Matthews.

Handwork, "Barring any strange weather or very abnormal wet weather,some time in November."

Handwork says the whole project should be done in early 2012 but the most important part sooner than that.

Handwork, "But we should see the opening of the overpass in December is what we are anticipating."

About a mile to the West on the tracks, is the old bridge on Bridge street.

Jonesboro Chief City Engineer Craig Light says that in around six months this old bridge will be closed off and on for some well deserved "heavy maintenance".

"It's not dangerous." Light says, "It's just old." Light says a survey team will soon be inspecting the bridge in order to make recommendations on what needs to be done. The bridge will probably not be closed all the time but will close and open depending on what is being done at that time. Light says one hurdle will be coordinating bridge work with both Union Pacific and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroads.

Fortunately there will be a new overpass cross the tracks while the old bridge takes a rest.

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