BY MELANIE BUCK –
Several projects are currently underway around the County as road crews work to build new bridges and create safer, smoother roadways. Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison said that a new 97-foot concrete bridge is being built over Board Camp Creek on Polk Road 657. They are replacing a 100-year old pony truss steel and timber bridge. “We are in mid-construction with an estimated completion date of November 25,” said Ellison.
On Polk Road 6, a new 77-foot concrete replacement bridge is being constructed over the Rolling Fork River, west of Wickes and Grannis. The existing bridge will remain in place during construction. Ellison explained that in order to make this project possible, land was purchased from Weyerhaeuser parallel to the current crossing. “The land purchase serves two purposes, number one, to allow uninterrupted traffic during construction, and number two, to straighten out a sharp curve in the road as it approaches the bridge from the west.” A grant was obtained to fund one-half of the project from the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. “This bridge will allow for more than triple the flow under the span because of additional length and a much higher elevation,” Ellison said.
South and west of Cove, on Polk Roads 20, 22, 230, and 231, a 6.5 mile resurfacing project is in the works. Approximately 4.2 miles of this project has received drainage and elevation work and most of the gravel base and compaction work is complete. The new surface will consist of primer and two seals of emulsified asphalt and class 1 aggregate chips. The balance of the project will be a single seal over the existing hard surface. This project should be complete by November 15, pending weather.
Roadwork is also in the process on Polk Roads 41, 45, 46, and 703, in the Shady Grove area. “All three of these sites run north and south between state highways 8W and 375S. Each site will receive extensive re-construction,” Ellison said. Drainage, elevation, some widening, gravel base, and compaction were planned in these areas. “Much of this work is complete. A decision has been made to hold off on hard surfacing until early spring due to impending cooler weather. There is good chance we would not be through with the necessary preparation work and still have a window this fall to get a quality job in,” explained Ellison. The total length of this project is approximately 4.1 miles long.