Poinsett Co. residents concerned about condition of bridges

LEPANTO, AR (KAIT)- Poinsett County residents are demanding answers from the state officials when it comes to the condition of their bridges.

The Arkansas Highway Department says the bridges were built in 1948 but are still structurally sound and are not bad enough to be replaced.

The Lepanto mayor said he gets complaints about the condition of the bridges every day so he sent a letter to the Arkansas Highway Department but their response was acceptable to the residents.

"It just shakes my house," said Marked Tree resident, Emmett Brown.

He said every time a truck goes over this bridge on Highway 140, he feels the vibrations in his home.

"I have to go over it every year and tighten the nails back up in it, the vibrations just tear it apart," Brown said.

He said this bridge has gotten even worse in the past year.

"I pick up hubcaps all the time out there in my yard from vehicles where their hubcaps fly off," Brown told Region 8 News. "They just keep coming and patching and patching."

Other Poinsett Count residents share Brown's concerns.

"If someone loses control by hitting some of these rough spots, you cant get away there is going to be a head on collision and lives could be lost," said Lepanto resident, Dan Hall.

Hall said he has reached out to city and state officials about the conditions of the bridges.

"We were originally told that the bridges were built in about 48 and if they paved over them it would destroy the integrity of the bridge," he said.

Then state officials told Hall they didn't have the money and sent a letter to the mayor saying the bridges were not bad enough to replace.

"This is a state problem, if it was our city bridges, we'd take care of it. If they cant come up with a plan, we need a new highway commissioner," Hall said. "Making bumps out of holes when they come with their asphalt and make it just as rough or rougher than it originally was."

William Cox has been on the Lepanto City Council for nearly 15 years and said something has to be done.

"We need some governor, some representative or somebody to have this problem fixed," he said. "I think it's going to be a bad accident on the bridges."

Hall said he has a message to Governor Beebe.

"I would like to see the governor of our state come down here drive over these bridges and then get out of his vehicles stand in front of me and tell me that they don't need to be repaired," he said.

According to the letter from the highway department, the bridges have sufficiency ratings of 59 and 70 on a scale on 100. Only bridges under 50 are considered for replacement.

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