Residents voice concern over possible bridge closure

Residents voice concern over possible bridge closure
(Source: KARK)

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT/KARK) - Residents in one central Arkansas community are sharing their concerns over the closure of a near century old bridge.

According to KARK, a 93-year-old bridge has been deemed unsafe by the city of North Little Rock. They say that although the bridge is an old one, it is not a "historic" bridge.

Because it does not fall into that category, there are no plans to fix or replace the bridge but to tear it down.

Keith Broadway who says he drives over the bridge approximately five to six times a day says the community needs the connectivity the bridge offers.

We can spend 4 point something million dollars on a water fountain,” Broadway argues, “but we can't spend $200,000 to fix a bridge?

The bridge has original wood blocking that dates to 1925, however, steel reinforcements were added in the late 1980's.

Mayor Joe Smith says since the bridge is not historic, it leaves the city with few options.

We have to make good fiscal decisions and a quarter of a million dollars to fix an old bridge probably isn't the best thing to do,” Smith said.

Broadway wants Smith to talk to the people in the community about the importance of the bridge saying, “it’s the link. It's the link that makes all this community a community and without it, we're divided.”

Smith says they continue to look at all their options before they make a final decision.
Emergency personnel in the city says that closing the bridge will not affect how they respond to emergency calls.
However, the local ambulance service says the although they typically avoid the bridge, sometimes they must use it if a train has blocked the train tracks that lie beneath the bridge.
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