BY MELANIE BUCK –
The Two-Mile Creek Bridge on Polk 37 is open after months of working through negotiations with AGI insurance and finding permitting weather. Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison said the crew worked until 8 p.m. on Monday night to get the asphalt set. “We started early that morning but it started raining so we held the asphalt trucks here and waited until the rain let up to get it done,” said Ellison.
The bridge was damaged on January 8th by a local timber contractor, who attempted to cross the bridge with a skidder that was too tall for the structure. The top of the skidder snagged the top of the bridge, causing the collapse and destruction of the century old bridge.
“The contractor cooperated fully and responsibly and maintained adequate insurance to cover the damage,” said Judge Ellison. The settlement from AIG paid $215,000 to Polk County.
Ellison is glad to see the end of the project and said the only portion left is painting the stripes. Although the bridge was widened slightly to 17 feet, it will remain a one-lane bridge. The original abutments were used in the construction of the new bridge. The previous bridge was 15 feet wide, leaving little leeway on the abutments to build the new one much wider.
The new bridge won’t have any height restrictions but will have weight restrictions that will be determined by the Arkansas Highway Department. There is a smaller bridge that sits just yards away that has a 10-ton limit. That bridge also received a touch-up while crews were in the area. The steel has been painted red and new signs were being hung on Monday.
Ellison said they also laid asphalt between the bridges. “Last time we came out and laid asphalt in this area, we were unable to bring our equipment in between the bridges because of the weight restrictions. This time, we were able to come across the new bridge to bring that section up to date.”