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Enhancements Approved for "America's Bridge" Project

New look coming for the nearly 100-year-old Broadway Bridge.
An artist rendering of "America's Bridge", which will replace the Broadway Bridge connecting downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock
An artist rendering of "America's Bridge", which will replace the Broadway Bridge connecting downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The "America's Bridge" project between Little Rock and North Little Rock is a step closer to getting underway.

The Arkansas Highway Department today approved a motion supporting the vision of Pulaski County judge Buddy Villines for additional enhancements for the span over the Arkansas River that will replace the Broadway Bridge.

Engineers have been busy for months putting their final touches on design plans for the $58-million "iconic" bridge.

Villines says he plans to raise an additional $2.1 million in private donations to add a variety of accents that can be phased in even after the bridge is completed.

The plans call for $300,000 for items like flagpoles, decorative stars and coloring of concrete to signify different points in history when the U.S. was at war.

Villines says to add LED lighting at night would cost approximately $1.5 million and could be added whenever the money is raised.

"We scratched the idea of painting the bridge red, white and blue because there was no way we could guarantee a way to pay for upkeep for the next 100 years," Villines told AHTD commission members.

The Broadway Bridge was built more than 90 years ago. While it's not seen as a safety risk, engineers who conducted a study have said it's been deteriorating for some time.

The new bridge will consist of five traffic lanes and a pedestrian walkway. The bridge's walls will be decorated with stars, quotes by famous Americans about peace and freedom, and the names of Arkansans who've received the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Construction could take up to two years.

"This will create a place people will want to be," Villines says.

Click here for more on the history of the project.
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