"Large hole" shuts down NEA bridge

POINSETT COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - The Arkansas Department of Transportation has shut down a Northeast Arkansas bridge after discovering a large hole in the deck.

The bridge is located in Section 2 of State Highway 373 near Weona in Poinsett County.

ARDOT officials said it is an old bridge that has been patched and repaired over the years.

The weight limit has been routinely lowered on the bridge.

According to ARDOT, both lanes across the bridge are closed to all traffic until it can be fixed which, according to a highway official. It could be closed for two weeks or longer, depending on the solution.

"If we have the time to invest in more significant repair, it may be as much as two months," Alan Walter, ARDOT district 10 construction engineer, said. "But we feel like that if we go to the more significant repairs, we probably will be able to avoid working on the bridge and inconveniencing the traffic probably for a couple of years."

Walter said ARDOT crews are at the bridge every other month for repairs, but other projects do take precedence over this one because only about 300 cars travel over the bridge each day.

Walter said it will likely be five to 10 years before the bridge is replaced.

Northbound traffic will need to use Highway 163 and southbound traffic will need to use Highway 14 to detour around the bridge.

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