Jefferson Parkway bridge work expected to take about a week

Baring unforeseen problems, a section of Jefferson Parkway between Hutchinson Street and McFadden Road should be reopened in about a week after the Jefferson County Road Department completes bridge repair work that began Wednesday.

The roadway was closed to all traffic earlier Wednesday and County Road Superintendent Jimmy O’Fallon said an inspection of the bridge revealed that four concrete panels, including one with a hole in it, will need to be replaced.

He said the 30-by-3-foot panels serve as the deck of the bridge, and while the road department could have gotten by with replacing only one panel now, they would have had to go back later to replace other panels.

“That bridge probably gets more truck traffic than any other bridge in the county,” O’Fallon said, adding that about 200 to 300 trucks cross the bridge on an average day and “probably a thousand cars.”

Jefferson Parkway provides easy access to the Jefferson Industrial Park and Dollarway Road for residents living across the Arkansas River, and trucks use the roadway as a short cut to reach University Drive (U.S. 79).

“We also found some bolts loose underneath the bridge and there were some that were actually missing that we’re going to replace,” O’Fallon said, “and we’re going to do some things to try and make for a smoother ride across the bridge.”

O’Fallon said he expected the repair work to take about a week, with several road department employees involved in the project.

County Judge Dutch King said the repair work on the bridge is one of a number of things that are planned this year for the road department.

“We’re going to try and pave a few roads as we can in every section of the county and we’re going to continue to maintain the roads as long as the money holds out,” King said. “We want everybody in the county to feel good about what we’re doing and that’s why we’re going to go all over the county and not just concentrate where the most people live.”