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story.lead_photo.caption Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista Bella Vista city council member Doug Fowler (left), alongside other Bella Vista residents and ARDOT staff, examines a map provided by the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

Bella Vistans met with Arkansas Department of Transportation and Crafton Tull staff last Thursday to learn about a bridge replacement project on Arkansas Highway 340.

Karla Sims, with the ARDOT's environmental division, said the project will replace two bridges on Arkansas Highway 340, one crossing Little Sugar Creek and the other crossing Tanyard Creek, which will be replaced and widened to five lanes to accommodate future development, with a sidewalk on either side.

The road between the two bridges will be widened, but the remainder of Arkansas Highway 340 is not going to be widened at this point.

The project is expected to take one-and-half years, and construction is expected to start in 2020. The bridges will still be open to traffic during construction. Sims explained that the new lanes will be built, then traffic will be directed to those lanes while construction commences on the existing lanes.

Terry Tucker, advance environmental impacts analyst with ARDOT, said the bridges are due for replacement and there have been erosion issues around them. Bridge design has improved greatly since Cooper built these bridges, he explained.

"Basically it's going to be a new bridge ... be a vast improvement," he said.

Tucker said the project has been delayed slightly because of redesigns. The city asked for a shared multiuse path, he said, to allow cyclists and pedestrians access. The Tanyard Creek crossing will also feature space for the in-progress 11 Under trails, as well as the existing golf cart paths to go beneath the bridge.

The section of road between these two bridges, near the road's intersection with Chelsea Road, will also be moved slightly to the east and farther away from the bluff near its curved section.

There will be more safety shoulder as well, he said.

City council member Doug Fowler was among those who came to check out the project.

Fowler said he appreciated ARDOT showing off its plans and having staff available to field questions -- and that it seemed willing to consider citizens' concerns.

It's also good to see the state take initiative and fix some of its infrastructures, he said. Traffic is rarely especially bad in this area, he said, and he doesn't expect construction to cause too much trouble.

"These guys have done their homework and the bridges need to be replaced," he said.

One pair of residents, Betty and Mel Legler, said they expect this project to improve the road -- though they would have liked to see a traffic light for the interstate on and offramp near city hall.

"I think it's needed," Betty Legler said. "Making more lanes will help with the flow."

General News on 12/05/2018

Print Headline: Highway 340 bridge replacement coming

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