Hwy. 63 bridge fully opened following emergency repairs
LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - The Arkansas Department of Transportation fully reopened the U.S. Highway 63/412 bridge in Lawrence County following emergency repairs.
ArDOT closed the road to traffic around noon Tuesday, May 25, to repair the bridge over the Spring River at Ravenden.
Police Chief John Keding said inspectors found “structural damage” to the bridge on a routine inspection and immediately shut it down.
The bridge normally gets inspected once every two years.
District 10 Engineer Brad Smithee confirmed Keding’s comments, saying the bridge, which was built in the 1950s, uncovered a “critical safety concern” after the routine inspection was conducted Tuesday morning.
Smithee confirmed ArDOT inspectors discovered a broken pin and a broken hanger on two separate beams.
By Tuesday night, ArDOT had reopened one lane of traffic over the bridge.
Smithee said Tuesday that materials for a permanent solution would be delivered Wednesday morning and they hoped to have the bridge repaired by the end of the day.
By 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, the reports were completed and the bridge fully reopened.
ArDOT had just completed work on a two-week construction project on the bridge in mid-May.
With Memorial Day weekend approaching and with traffic expected to increase as people head to the Spring River, residents, including Fire Chief Butch Dail, hope to see it fixed soon.
“We’ve been concerned about our bridge because it is the main way through from Memphis, Kansas City actually,” Dail said. “It means a lot to our community, it means a lot to our local economy and things like that so it’s a serious situation.”
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