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Broadway Bridge closure time shorter than expected | News

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Broadway Bridge closure time shorter than expected

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Good news for people who use the Broadway Bridge. While many are dreading the day when it shuts down for a construction project, the Highway Department just announced it will not be closed as long as they originally estimated.

Instead of being closed for years, the bridge will only be closed for months. The company who won the bid for the project, not only had the lowest cost, but also would need to close the bridge for the shortest amount of time.

The sound of tires going across the Broadway Bridge is constant. 25,000 vehicles contribute to that sound each day.

"Maybe twice a day," said Truck Driver Helga Simerley.

"Trying to get from one side of town to the other," said Driver Jimmy Hinton.

So, when it comes to replacing the Broadway Bridge, it is all about getting in and getting out.

"Contractor is planning on working around the clock on this," said Danny Straessle with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department.

Massman Construction Company out of Kansas City plans to close the bridge to traffic for six months. Straessle says this is the single largest contract they have ever had.

"One contract," said Straessle. "One contractor. One single project. $98.4."

Straessle says the $98.4 million question is when will the bridge close.

"As early as May 2016, they are projecting that the Broadway Bridge will be taken out of service," said Straessle.

While they are not planning on closing the Broadway Bridge until 2016 a lot of the work leading up to that is going to be happening underneath the bridge and behind the scenes.

"Part of their plan is to build some of the substructure for the new bridge while the old bridge is still standing," said Straessle.

Straessle says starting in March of next year, they will remove these pier protection cells. But the first thing to go will be the Highway 10 ramps. And they will be the last to go back up.

"They anticipate having this whole project done by January 2017," said Straessle.

That date, could not come soon enough for drivers, and they hope it will be worth the wait.

"I think it will increase the value of this area as well," said Hinton.

"Make Arkansas look beautiful," said Simerley.

If the company gets the bridge back open in less than 180 days, they get a bonus. An extra $80,000 for each day will get tacked on. There is a cap on that. The opposite is true even if they go even a day over that six month closure.

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AHTD accepts bid of $98.4 million on Broadway Bridge