Chamber, college hold public meeting on bridge closure

Highway 67 Bridge Meeting
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - Traffic flow along the Black River Bridge in Pocahontas is going much smoother than initially thought.

Last week, the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department shifted northbound traffic along Highway 67 to the southbound lane of the Black River Bridge.

Traffic patterns will stay that way for approximately 18 to 24 months as crews tear down the historic bridge, then replace it with a new one.

In anticipation of the bridge closure, the police department created a substation on the east side of town, and industries staggered work schedules to help with traffic flow.

"90% of Randolph County industry is on this side of the bridge, what we call East Pocahontas." Tim Scott said. "The biggest ones over here have already gone to that in anticipation. So far, it must be working."

Scott, the executive director of the Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, said things have gone surprisingly well since the bridge closed.

"It looks like, we hope, it will not be the staggering problem that most of us thought it would be," Scott said.

Scott said it's not just businesses doing their part to help.

"I have seen people already getting used to this by, when they pull out of a restaurant or an office or a bank, they're already moving over where they need to be so when you get to the stoplight at McDonald's, you're already where you're supposed to be," Scott said.

A few concerns were raised by residents at the meeting.

Some questioned whether the timing of the stoplight at Highway 62 and Highway 67 could be tweaked to help with staggering traffic.

Others discussed whether Market Drive near Walmart should be reduced to one lane as well.

Scott said he will be speaking with AHTD about the concerns.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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