November 9, 2011 Edition

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AHTD reveals plans for new bridge



Black River bridge project manager Azad Shahriar (right) discusses new bridge plans with Bill Maxwell of Black Rock during a meeting at Black Rock City Hall on Nov. 1.
Ozark Journal Photo ~ Bob Glass Jr.
The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department unveiled a preliminary plan on Nov. 1 to build a new bridge spanning the Black River on U.S. Highway 63 at Black Rock that will replace the current deficient bridge.

A large crowd viewed drawings of the new bridge and spoke with AHTD officials at the meeting, which was held at Black Rock City Hall.

If approved, the new four-lane bridge will be built 10-15 feet south of the current bridge, and will be approximately the same length.

Project manager Azad Shahriar of Bridgefarmer & Associates said that one house and a bait shop will be affected when the new bridge is constructed.

According to AHTD District 10 Construction Engineer Brad Smithee, work on the project could begin in 2013 if the plan passes an environmental study and is approved by the federal government. Completion of the bridge could take up to three years.

Smithee said the proposed new bridge would have four lanes with an 11-foot median, along with eight-foot shoulders. Construction will cost approximately $30 million.

State officials placed restrictions on the bridge at Black Rock earlier this year after parts of the substructure was deemed deficient following an inspection last year.

AHTD rates bridges on a safety scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being the highest possible score. The Black River Bridge, which was built in 1949, has a rating of 24.

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