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ARDOT seeking input on Lake Harrison Bridge project

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 5:00 PM CDT
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - The Arkansas Department of Transportation is asking for input on a project proposal for Lake Harrison Bridge reconstruction along Business U.S. 65, near downtown.

The Lake Harrison Bridge has plenty of traffic. Originally built in 1930, over time it’s seen wear and tear. The bridges condition isn’t so poor that it is a safety concern, but several officials believe it is in need of some an upgrade.

”But that bridge has been here forever,” said Harrison Mayor Jerry Jackson. “The highway department has done what they could to repair, especially over the ice last year. They had to come out and do, again, what they could to repair. But I think now it’s just beyond repair.”

Now ARDOT is in the beginning stages of constructing a new bridge that would see several upgrades.

”The new bridge, it will be a five lane bridge, sidewalks on both sides, so it would be an improvement over what’s there now,” said Steve Lawrence, ARDOT District Nine engineer.

The proposal also includes cosmetic upgrades which have been collaborated on with ARDOT and the city of Harrison.

”We got a stone, we’re gonna put stone on there to kind of depict the area,” said Jackson.

“Anytime we can tie in those outdoor elements that makes the Ozarks what it is, we want to.”

The project is in its early stages and the highway department is currently accepting input from the public about the project. It’s a part of the highway departments initiative to increase community involvement in such projects.

”If they have questions, they can email questions in, they can call us here at the district, they can call our environmental district in Little Rock,” said Lawrence. “We have a form that they can fill out online and send in; those comments are recorded by our environmental division and they have a definite effect on the development of these projects.“

Which Lawrence explained, environmental concern is something being addressed for the project as the Lake Harrison Bridge is right next to a community park and walking trail.

The city of Harrison is also looking to potentially remove a low-water dam near the bridge which could change the creek’s current and thus subsequently affect construction on the bridge.

“We could possibly have free-flowing stream again through here which would drastically change the current and our water levels,’ said Jackson. “If it were to become free flowing again, it could be a highlight of our town which would perfectly compliment a new bridge.”

Click here to view materials outlining the project.

ARDOT will be accepting input on the project plans until 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 22.

You can email comments to EnvironmentalPIMeetings@ardot.gov or mail them to: Arkansas Department of Transportation, Environmental Division, Attn: Assessments Section, P.O. Box 2261, Little Rock, AR 72203, a press release said.

Construction on the project is currently scheduled to begin in Fall of 2022.

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