|Updated: 5/14/2012 5:29 pm
||Published: 5/14/2012 4:50 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR - It's hard to imagine driving into Little Rock or North Little Rock without going over the Broadway Bridge. But state leaders say that'll be the new norm and they want to get started on it now.
"We don't believe it can be repaired and still last several years into the future," Scott Bennett of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department said.
Conscious of the traffic nightmare, highway engineers proposed building the new bridge west of the Broadway Bridge. The Broadway Bridge would be closed for 2 months, opposed to the 18 month plan both Little Rock and North Little Rock Mayors objected to originally.
"I'm into building cities and they're into building bridges, and sometimes those can coordinate and sometimes they don't,” Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola said. “We're trying to get together on these kinds of things."
But now the problem lies in what to do with this signature bridge, a longtime thoroughfare. The mayors would like to see it become a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists.
Highway leaders encourage demolition, saying foot and bicycle traffic is still wear on the crumbling bridge. If the bridge remains, it becomes part of the cities, and they would have to maintain it.
"We just need to do our research and make sure we know what we're getting into," Stodola said.