|Updated: 9/26/2012 5:43 pm
||Published: 9/26/2012 4:24 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR - There's a new Broadway Bridge coming but be prepared to find a new way around downtown Little Rock until it's complete. The cities of Little Rock, North Little Rock and Pulaski County reaching an agreement with the Arkansas Highway & Transportation Department on a bridge design.
The 90-year old Broadway Bridge is a step closer to coming down. An "agreement in concept" would replace it with this a “double arch" design.
"We're back where we really have been all along. We said the best alignment is to replace the bridge where it is now," AHTD director Scott Bennett says.
Metroplan quickly passed a resolution Wednesday moving the Broadway Bridge closer to construction.
"If I had my preference on this whole process, I’d want to see a Chester Street bridge built first," Little Rock mayor Mark Stodola says.
But the cities and county say this is a compromise to get something built. For that to happen, the current bridge will be removed, making a high-traffic crossing inaccessible for up to two years.
"It is a minor detour but I think it's something that motorists hopefully will be able to understand and get used to,” Stodola says. “We're talking about a bridge that is going to be here for the next 100 years."
So all sides are agreeing what it will look like but how to pay for it is less clear. AHTD says the double-arch design will cost an extra $20 million, money the cities have to come up with on top of an already estimated $57 million cost.
"Those issues are very fluid right now," Stodola says.
Bennett says AHTD will need more specifics in a few months on a funding source but for now it is moving forward.
"I'm going to look at positively. They've said there is money available and that's the direction we're going to go," Bennett says.
No construction date start time has been set for the demolition of the existing Broadway Bridge.