A Clark County dump truck accident this morning left the superstructure of the Ouachita River Bridge on state Highway 51 so damaged that the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has closed the bridge. The bridge carried about 3,100 vehicles daily, the AHTD says.

The detour, through Donaldson, to the intersection of Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 7 is an hour. The trip is normally 15 minutes. Need to get to Fordyce from I-30 south? Get off at Malvern, not Arkadelphia.

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The AHTD said the truck hit several horizontal and vertical beams of the 66-year-old bridge. Engineers are assessing the damage and plan to put temporary supports in until a permanent fix is achieved.

Meanwhile, the AHTD is building a new bridge downstream to replace the Ouachita bridge. The project was bid at $14.9 million and is expected to be completed in summer 2017.

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