GREENE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Crews began working on a bridge Wednesday that officials earlier this year had condemned.
The work began on the County Road 125 bridge in Greene County, near Lafe. In early November, Greene County Judge Rusty McMillon closed the bridge citing safety concerns.
Officials said the weight limit on the road was about 8,000 pounds on the heavily traveled bridge.
County road officials said the bridge was dangerous.
"This particular bridge was posted at 4-tons maximum, which is about the average weight of a pickup truck," said Dave Tierney, Greene County road superintendent.
After the state lowered the weight limit, it left a restriction.
"We declared this an emergency because of the weight restriction and because of the amount of traffic on this road," he said. "School buses use this road, farmers use this road. I mean, you have a road safe for the average pickup truck and then you have a school bus loaded with children crossing it, or a tractor and a truckload of grain. So, public safety is paramount on a situation like this."
On Monday, the county closed the road where the bridge is located. Two days later, the road department began demolishing the bridge, which will leave the road blocked off for several weeks.
"This came upon us unexpectedly and we are working as fast as we can to get it fixed," Tierney said. "It's not going to be a quick fix though. I can't sleep at night thinking that a child could get hurt on this bridge, I cannot do it. So, it's getting fixed right now."
Meanwhile, the road department has provided detours.
"The public can travel further up Highway 34 then take Highway 141 to County Road 136 that comes out on the other side of the bridge," Tierney said. "Or, they can use County Road 138 to detour around."
Tierney said the county is exploring different replacement options and asks for the public's patience while crews work to complete the unexpected project.
The work is expected to be done by the end of the year, officials said.
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