Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer
The long-awaited restoration of two historic bridges is now underway in downtown Fayetteville.
The $1.725 million project will include a rehab of the 1930s-era Lafayette and Maple street bridges that cross over the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad one block east of the University of Arkansas campus.
The work has been discussed for years, but was pushed back for a variety of reasons including federal funding delays, bid overages and design dilemmas related to the bridges’ historic status.
Both structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in order to retain that designation, special work is required to restore the bridges as close as possible to their original form. All plans required approval by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program and the state highway department.
Rehab work will include restoring or replacing the bent railings and broken light fixtures, pouring a new layer of deck concrete, widening the sidewalks, and other structural improvements.
Work began Monday on the Lafayette Street bridge. Construction will require closure of Lafayette from North Gregg Avenue to West Avenue through about mid-June, according to a news release. The road will be closed 24 hours a day and on weekends and holidays. Detours are marked with signage. A portion of Gregg between Lafayette and Reagan Street will also be closed and used as a staging area for construction materials.
Closures on Maple Street will begin later this year.
Funding for the project comes from $1 million from the federal aid Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program. The remaining $725,000 comes from transportation bonds voters approved in 2006.