BLACK ROCK, AR (KAIT) - As work continues on the new bridge over the Black River, maintenance is being done on the old one and it has some drivers uneasy.
The bridge in Black Rock is where highway 63 and 412 cross over the Black River. After deep investigation of the bridge the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department decided to start construction of a new bridge. That new bridge has been under construction quite some time now and is expected to be completed around Christmas despite all of the recent rains here in Region 8, said Bridge Superintendent Randy Ennis.
The construction currently being done on the bridge is maintenance, said Brad Smithee with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.
Smithee said, "Nothing over there is of major concern its all very minor and just routine maintenance as we find little things that must be taken care of as we find them."
Many drivers are worried because of the traffic being backed up on the bridge itself, but Smithee said that this is necessary to keep traffic moving along the highway because of how heavily traveled it is.
Smithee said, "The shorter distance that we can delay traffic, really, muchexpeditess the ability for that traffic to move through that little work zone."
Smithee also added that the amount of traffic on the bridge stopped will still not be enough to bring the bridge down and said that it wouldn't be a problem anymore after the new bridge is opened at the end of this year as the new bridge is being built much stronger.
Ennis said, "The piers are quite a bit bigger in diameter and the caps are a lot bigger, they've got better structural steel and rebar as well."
Smithee also added that the maintenance on the old bridge should be done in the next few days, but until they are done be careful when approaching the bridge as the workers are out there.