County looks at bringing Bono Bridge back

County looks at bringing Bono Bridge back

BONO, AR (KAIT) - It used to be a Craighead County shortcut and a legendary place for local teens and college students to do what teens and college students do. The latter is one of the reasons why the Bono Bridge was torn down.

It's been three years since Burlington Northern Santa Fe took it down. With it, they removed more than just a landmark, they removed a quicker way to get into Bono for everyone on the east side of the tracks.

Now, Craighead County is looking at bringing the Bono Bridge back to life.

In a matter of hours, the Bono Bridge went from dilapidated to demolished. Even though it happened over three years ago, Duane Wiles remembers that morning clearly.

"I was sitting in the window reading. It must've been about 7... 6:30 or 7," Wiles told Region 8 News. "I heard the equipment, the vehicles going down the road. Big, big trucks and vehicles. I just said to myself, 'They're gonna tear the bridge out.'"

Now, desolate and overgrown with weeds, a BNSF private property sign marks where the bridge used to sit.

"I grew up on this property and my grandparents lived on the end of the property. I spent a lot of years when I was a little tyke playing on that bridge," Wiles said.

Though Wiles was angry when the bridge was torn down, he said now it's just an inconvenience.

"If I wanna go to Subway to get a sandwich I gotta go all the way into Bono or to Dan Avenue. Consequently, I don't eat a lot of Subway sandwiches," Wiles joked.

He might be able to eat fresh soon though, as the county is working to build a new Bono Bridge.

Though it won't be in the exact same spot, County Judge Ed Hill said the railroad, the state and the county have given the go ahead for the project. All that's left to do is acquire the right of way to build the new bridge.

Barbara Coleman has lived in the area for decades. She says though she won't be using the bridge much, she knows neighbors who will benefit.

"They have neighbors that live right across the bridge and they have to drive all the way around by Bono to get to their house," Coleman said.

Judge Hill said this new bridge will be concrete. He told Region 8 News that he hopes to have the land they need acquired soon.

Hill explained that 80% of that project will be paid with federal money, the other 20% will be paid by the state and county.

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