Highway Dept.'s end game on Broadway Bridge | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Highway Dept.'s end game on Broadway Bridge

Posted By on Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 6:05 AM

WHY THE RUSH? Why not delay a commitment on Broadway Bridge replacement for consideration of a better alternative, such as this idea to make the bridge a park?
  • WHY THE RUSH? Why not delay a commitment on Broadway Bridge replacement for consideration of a better alternative, such as this idea to make the bridge a park?

The Arkansas Highway Department is suggesting that calamity awaits if local transportation planners don't submit to their desire to blow up the Broadway Bridge and replace it with a plug-ugly, marginally more functional bridge. If local planners don't go along, highway nabobs say, there'll be no annual transportation plan allowing expenditure of federal money in Central Arkansas.

Count me skeptical about this doomsday scenario.

The Highway Department's desires for the Broadway Bridge are impossibly injurious in the short run — closure for two years with a resulting traffic cluster**** downtown. Long term, we'd have an ugly bridge, wedged into the existing urban landscape without a thought for possible new ways of using the prime riverfront real estate.

Why not just leave the bridge out of the state plan this year? Let discussions continue for a better alternative — particularly a new river crossing upriver so that the Broadway Bridge could then be turned into a glorious High Line-style hanging park between Argenta and South Argenta. Put the project in the state plan when everyone is on the same page for action.

The mayors of Little Rock and North Little Rock have challenged the Highway Department on their long-held assertion that federal money must be spent now — on this bad idea — or not at all. Even if the mayors are wrong, the long-term is better served in use of tax money, wise urban planning and aesthetics by not rushing to the state's preferred alternative just because the highway engineers want to keep busy.

UPDATE: State Rep. John Edwards of Little Rock has been working behind the scenes on the issue. He sent this letter to the Highway Department urging a careful look at rehabilitation versus replacement, an interim suggestion by the mayors. He notes, too, the traffic disruption from closing the span. The letter doesn't mention, but he did in a comment to me, that the Broadway Bridge is frequently used by ambulances. Others have wondered how its closure could affect emergency response times. Adversely, would be my guess.

Tags: , , ,


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (20)

Showing 1-20 of 20

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-20 of 20

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Speaking of the Clinton Foundation: Returns in maize and beans

    A reporter for Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking organization, sent a reporter to Africa to see where money given to the Clinton Foundation has been put to work. He found tangible results.
    • Sep 6, 2016
  • Two plead in fraud of sheriff's office

    A former employee of the Pulaski County sheriff and a North Little Rock woman who sold goods to the sheriff's office have pleaded guilty to mail fraud in a scheme to steal from the sheriff's office, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office.
    • May 16, 2017
  • A response to police arrests becomes a tutorial on race, class and policing in Little Rock

    John Walker, the 79-year-old civil rights lawyer, and his associate, Omavi Shukur, 29, a young lawyer devoted to criminal justice reform, talked to press this afternoon about their arrests Monday by Little Rock police for supposedly obstructing governmental operations in observing and attempting to film a routine police traffic stop. It was a tutorial on sharp views of race, class and governance in Little Rock.
    • Sep 29, 2016

People who saved…

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation