October 22, 2007 - Posted at 4 p.m. CDT
HOOKER - A Region 8 bridge designed for Model-A's of yesteryear is not wide enough for today's vehicles. Located about a mile west of Hooker, along highway 135 sits the narrow and dangerous Cache river bridge. Local officials met at the bridge Monday along with representatives from the governors office to show why the need for the bridges replacement.
State Representative Mike Patterson is not this bridges fan he says," You automatically cringe when you come across this bridge."
Patterson echo's the feelings of drivers who everyday must pass over this on the Cache River on highway 135.
School bus driver Charles Hampton says he'd rather take on the hills than cross this bridge. "Though I go through the hills West of Lafe this is probably the worst spot I have on my whole route far as dangerous to the kids."
Hampton has been driving this route for seven years and says he often has to stop to let another vehicle cross over the bridge first, which poses another safety issue of him having to stop and the danger of being rear - ended.
"You never know when a vehicle is gonna come along at sixty mile and hour and not see ya, and rear-end ya so it's not really a good scenario for a school bus.to be crossing this bridge as narrow as it is."
This highway bridge built in 1929 is no longer sufficient for the kind of travel it receives. Representative Patterson says the bridge is narrow, narrower than the bridge just a quarter mile up the road which was built in the 50's. "The difference is width, closer to four feet difference in the bridges. "
Patterson held a bridge-side meeting today involving residents, local county and city officials and representatives from the governors office. Patterson says that when ever he's in the county the subject of this bridge always comes up.
Aside from the fact this bridge is narrow and has cost several people their mirrors over the years, local residents say it's also been the source of numerous fatalities.
Nearby resident Wallace Howe told me, "they've been several fatalities on this bridge, I can't tell you how many but I know over my lifetime there have been a lot of people killed on this bridge."