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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK The bridge over Spring Creek on Pump Station Road Friday, September 1, 2017, in Springdale was irreparably damaged by the April and May Floods. The road is currently closed and blocked off from traffic.

Joggers and cyclists, folks on their way to and from home, and even school bus drivers delivering their charges miss the little one-lane bridge that carried them across Spring Creek on North Pump Station Road in Springdale.

It's going to be a while before a larger replacement is open.

"We used it a lot to avoid traffic on 71," Kristina Curl, who lives with her family on Lexington Circle, said of U.S. 71 Business, known as Thompson Street in Springdale. "Traffic is horrendous on 71 at 7:30 a.m."

She figures she used that bridge a minimum of four times a day and sometimes as many as eight.

"I enjoyed going that way. It's a pretty area," she said of the more rural scenery.

The bridge washed away during the record-setting storms and floods last spring. The city applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for money to replace the bridge. Agency officials referred city officials to the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

A request for a survey to redesign the bridge has been made, said Claude Klinck, the state aid engineer for the department.

"Springdale has paid a deposit, and the request for the survey has been made," he said.

Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse said he was given an 18-month to two-year timeline in August from Klinck's predecessor at Transportation Department. The City Council approved a resolution in October to pay the $10,000 deposit toward the bridge repair. The state will pay 80 percent of the total cost through federal funding it receives under the Emergency Bridge Replacement Program, and the city will pay 20 percent, Sprouse said. That's better than the split with the federal agency, which would have been 75/25, he added.

That bridge over Spring Creek was the last one-lane bridge remaining in the city, Sprouse said.

It will be redesigned as a two-lane bridge with flood-control measures, he said. And where the road dipped into the valley to cross the creek, the new road and bridge will be built to go up and over, said City Engineer Brad Baldwin.

"The state will design the bridge to withstand a 50-year flood," Baldwin said, "but we're going to ask for it to withstand a 100-year flood. We will ask them to raise the road up quite a bit."

"I was afraid it wasn't going to go back as a one-lane bridge," said Curl, who grew up in Springdale. "It's nostalgia, and I hate to see it."

The mayor shared his own memory of the bridge.

"When I was 8 years old, I rode my bicycle off that bridge," he said. "I ended up upside down, but I wasn't hurt."

"We know it's an inconvenience," Sprouse said of the missing crossing. "A lot more people traveled that road than you realized."

That included the mayor, who used it to visit his children living in the north part of town. Neither the state nor city have recorded traffic counts for the road.

"We'll keep pushing to make it a priority," Sprouse said.

"I'm just glad to know we'll get the bridge back at some point," Curl said.

NW News on 03/05/2018

Print Headline: Bridge to be replaced, but nostalgia left behind

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