Main Street northbound lanes re-open to traffic

The northbound lanes of Main Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues are re-opening to traffic, David Henning with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department said Monday afternoon.

As of 1:30 p.m. Monday, traffic was moving up Main Street through the formerly closed off section of roadway. Several pairs of large white directional arrows have been painted on the newly opened section advising motorists that both lanes are northbound.

“Motorists will also be able to park in front of the businesses on the northbound side of Main Street,” Henning said.

The southbound lanes of Main Street will remain closed until stabilization of the partially collapsed building at 620 S. Main St. has been completed.

The Department of Inspection and Zoning sent a “notice of property violation” to building owner Garland Trice on Aug. 4 notifying him that he had 60 days to make necessary repairs or risk having it condemned.

Trice hired a structural engineer with Red Pepper Inc. of Little Rock to conduct an assessment of the partially collapsed building and recommend remedial actions.

The engineer, Keith Fix, said in his July 31 report that the remaining walls beneath the collapsed roof and above the third floor must be demolished, the debris must be removed and collapse mitigation measures for the west end of the remaining roof must be installed.

“Mr. Trice must have an asbestos study done and submit his plan for how he is going to take the actions necessary to address this problem,” Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth said Monday.

The partial collapse occurred in the early afternoon of July 25. Local architect Dave Sadler of Nelson Architectural Group has said that he believes the high winds and heavy rain from a storm two days prior to the collapse directly contributed to it.

It is the second collapse in the downtown area this year. A building at Fourth Avenue and Main Street collapsed in February. Rubble remains at the site, waiting for the property owner to raise the funds for its removal.

The Pine Bluff City Council is considering legislation that would strengthen the city’s penalties for zoning violations.