Plan approved for new White River Bridge at Newport
NEWPORT, AR (KAIT) – Work will begin very soon to replace
the historic Blue Bridge that spans the White River in Newport.
The Arkansas State Highway & Transportation Department
approved a bid to construct a new White River Bridge on Arkansas Highway 367,
according to a news release. The project will reconstruct a one-mile stretch of
Highway 367 from the curve north of the bridge to Third Street in Newport.
AHTD awarded the contract worth $31,361,489.76 to Tanner
Construction Company, Inc., of Ellisville, Mississippi, to complete the
Lyndal Waits, an AHTD district engineer, expects crews to
finish building the new four-lane bridge adjacent to the current structure by
early 2017. He says that project should begin within six weeks, but some of
this preliminary construction will likely go unnoticed for a while.
"Not much will affect the traveling public because they [the
crews] will be doing work on the ground getting ready for the bridge," Waits
said. "It'll probably be another year at least before some of the roadway-type
work will begin.
"All in all," he added, "it has a 375 work days, which gives
them three more years to construct the project."
Waits says the design of the new bridge may not be as
architecturally interesting as the current one, but it will provide some significant
benefits particularly to local industry.
"It'll be a wonderful improvement for most notably the
industry in the area because they are not traveling on a weight-restricted
bridge anymore, and also wider loads can come through," Waits said. "The height
restriction is not quite an issue, but nonetheless you won't have an overhead
truss to that. So, there might be other types of routing equipment through that
area just simply because it might be closer in their scheme of how they get
where they need to go."
Once the new bridge opens, Newport city officials would like
to turn the Blue Bridge, a local landmark, into a walking trail for
pedestrians. The town's economic development director, however, says cost is
still the biggest concern.
"Right now, the highway department has told us they'll give
us $1,077,000 for the project," Jon Chadwell, director of the Newport Economic
Development Commission, said, "so that's a significant amount of money but it
just depends on how that money relates to the cost of rehabilitating a bridge."
Chadwell says the city would like to now hire an engineer or
architect to develop a cost estimate for the walking trail project first
proposed by a group of students from the Clinton School of Public Service in
Little Rock. The problem, though, is that any engineering work will cost money,
too, which will likely cost about $100,000. Chadwell says the city simply does
not have that kind of money to spend offhand.
"We've written a couple of grants trying to find some
engineering and architecture work, and they can look at it and get an idea of
how much it would cost," Chadwell said. "And then we'll know is the money that
the highway department's giving enough or will we have to seek more and is it
He expects the city to find out whether it's received those
grants to proceed with planning after the New Year.
Saturday, July 26 2014 2:09 PM EDT2014-07-26 18:09:07 GMT
A mysterious 'Woman in Black' has been spotted around the Tri-State in recent days, causing social media to erupt with questions about her identity. According to WATE in Tennessee, the Sullivan CountyMore >>
A mysterious 'Woman in Black' has been spotted around the Tri-State in recent days, causing social media to erupt with questions about her identity.More >>