Repair work for War Eagle Bridge on track
BENTONVILLE — War Eagle Bridge repair work is on schedule, which means it could reopen in September, Benton County officials said.
“Thus far, everything seems to be going well,” County Judge Barry Moehring said of the work. “They had some issues early on getting some of the materials, some of the steel they needed to use, but that’s been taken care of. So we’re looking at it being completed on schedule and in time for the fall crafts fair.”
The bridge was closed the week of May 8 and will remain closed until the work is done. The county awarded the contract to repair the 109-year-old bridge to Crossland Heavy Construction. The contract included a final completion date of Sept. 30, but Moehring said the work could be done sooner.
Pat Adams, justice of the peace and chairman of the Transportation Committee, said the weather needs to cooperate in the coming months.
“It looks like as long as we get good construction weather, we’ll make the September opening like we’ve anticipated,” Adams said.
The county has restricted traffic on the bridge since 2013 by lowering the weight limit to 3 tons. The county spent about $640,000 on repairs to the bridge in 2010, but state inspectors found critical deficiencies during an inspection in 2013.
The county hired Great River Engineering of Springfield, Mo., to inspect the bridge and identify problems, then do design work and develop a scope of work to restore the bridge. The firm developed a threetiered approach with each additional step including
more repair to extend the life of the bridge.
Brenda Guenther, comptroller, said the county has $1.4 million in the budget for the work. The county has been awarded a $500,000 federal grant to reimburse some of the cost once the work is done under the Transportation Alternatives Program, a federal-aid program to construct sidewalks and trails for pedestrians, bicyclists and other nonmotorized forms of transportation. The program also creates systems that provide safe routes for non-motorists, including children, older adults and individuals with disabilities. The War Eagle Bridge project was one of 71 selected to receive $16 million from the program during 2015.
The Quorum Court authorized Moehring to apply for the additional grant money at its April meeting. The maximum amount of grant money the county could receive on the project would be about $1.1 million, Guenther said at that time. The county has to provide a 20 percent match for any grant funds awarded.
Marc Trollinger, county fire marshal, said emergency response agencies have implemented plans to deal with the bridge being closed, some of which was put into effect when the weight restrictions were adopted.
Ambulance coverage will be provided by Hickory Creek Fire Station crews, Trollinger said. Firefighters from Nob Hill in Washington County and Hickory Creek in Benton County will be ready to aid Piney Point Fire Department volunteers who live in the area if needed, Trollinger said. Response times will remain essentially the same, he said.
“It has been tested and it is working,” Trollinger said of emergency response plans. “We had a brush fire call earlier this week and we sent mutual aid.”
The county has adopted a policy of sending assistance sooner than it has in the past to account for any added travel time and distance, Trollinger said.
“If we have a grass fire we go ahead and dispatch mutual aid,” Trollinger said. “If it’s a medic call we dispatch a Benton County ambulance from Hickory Creek instead of Rogers. They actually have a quicker response time.”
Dylan Buckley with Great River Engineering shows Wednesday the second coat of paint applied to the War Eagle Bridge. The final coat will be gloss black, the original color of the bridge.
Workers under plastic sheeting Wednesday paint the War Eagle Bridge.