New expectations for completion of the new Black River bridge

New expectations for completion of the new Black River bridge

BLACK ROCK, AR (KAIT) - The Highway 63 bridge in Black Rock is one of the fastest moving highway projects in Arkansas.

On the first week of 2015, work continued on the new bridge even though it was expected to be done by Christmas 2014.

Project engineer for Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department James Toney said he overlooks the work by the contractor on the new Black River bridge and said the bridge isn't complete yet due to issues with the weather and the Black River coming over its banks.

"We're relying on the river staying down, it's been up the last couple of days which has stopped work operations that need to be going on right down at the river," Toney said.

Despite all of the setbacks, the contractor is still on track. Not with it's high expectations, but with the time allotted in the contract itself. Completing the project on time is not just important to AHTD either.

"There will be a daily penalty assessed to the contractor when they go over that allowed site use time," Toney said.

That penalty is $25,000 per day until the project is complete.  The contractor currently has 14 days remaining in their contract to complete the bridge, but due to a grace period given by AHTD between the December 21st and March 15th they aren't currently being charged days.

Toney said the state won't charge the contractor for the work being done now because weather can be unpredictable and slow construction down during the winter months.

"That gives them approximately fourteen days after March 15th to get traffic on the bridge and once they get traffic moved onto the new bridge that site use time will stop," Toney said.

With all of that being said there is still a good amount of work to be done, but the contractor still believes cars will start moving across the bridge by the end of March.

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