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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/JASON IVESTER A vehicle crosses the bridge over Spanker Creek on East McNelly Road/Benton County 40 on April 27 in Bentonville.

BENTONVILLE -- Benton County officials will shift their attention to other bridge projects now that the renovated War Eagle Bridge is open.

"There's always something to do, and there always will be," said Pat Adams, justice of the peace and chairman of the Transportation Committee.

Road plan

Benton County’s justices of the peace will look at the road and bridge projects slated for 2018 when the Budget Committee reviews infrastructure needs Oct. 17. The committee will meet at 5 p.m in the Quorum Courtroom in the County Administration Building, 215 E. Central Ave.

Source: Benton County

War Eagle Bridge opened Sept. 21 after being closed for renovation since May 8.

The county will look to replace Spanker Creek Bridge, between Bella Vista and Bentonville, and Wildcat Creek Bridge on old Arkansas 68, County Judge Barry Moehring said.

Spanker Creek Bridge is proposed to be let for bids in December and Wildcat Bridge is supposed to be under construction soon, Moehring said.

The county wants to have engineering work done on the Wagon Wheel Road and Robinson Road bridges in the next few months, Moehring said. Snaveley Bridge, which was damaged in the April flooding, will be a Federal Emergency Management Agency project once the county gets FEMA approval for the work order.

Moehring wants to put together a five-year plan on bridge projects the county can stick to, barring unforeseen emergencies. Planning for bridge repair and replacement is long overdue, Adams said.

"In the past, they just waited until it was falling down and then they did something," Adams said. "I think this county judge will probably do some more comprehensive planning."

Adams wants to make sure the county doesn't neglect the basic services people expect county government to provide.

"We've got limited dollars," he said. "I'm of the opinion that roads and bridges and the Sheriff's Office are the two things the county had to fund properly. I just hope they don't try to trim the fat so much they come up short. We've asked, every year I've been on the Quorum Court, for departments to keep their budgets flat. I'm afraid it's catching up with us."

Kurt Moore is justice of the peace for District 13, which covers much of southwestern Benton County. He has seen several major bridge projects take years to complete, such as Fisher Ford Bridge which was closed for several years before being replaced. Wildcat Creek Bridge, which is closed, also is in Moore's district.

"I have one of the biggest districts with some of the biggest bridges," Moore said.

Moore also would like to see a comprehensive bridge plan.

"Roads don't really make a difference if a bridge is substandard or out of service," he said. "Then the roads leading up to it are worthless."

Moore said he has a number of bridges needing major repair or replacement.

"Osage Creek bridge is just a few miles from Wildcat Bridge," he said. "People are wanting to schedule it for replacement."

Having a schedule the county can stick to will make his job as a justice of the peace easier, Moore said. Roads and bridges are the most frequent topics his constituents call him about, he said.

"If I can tell them it's a question of 'not if but when' so just be patient they usually listen," he said. "But people start getting really upset when bridges are closed."

NW News on 10/08/2017

Print Headline: County planning bridge work

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