SAYING GOODBYE: Highway commissioners arrived in convertibles for the Sept. 28 closing of the Broadway Bridge. The contractor replacing the span had two days without traffic to begin work on removal of the bridge before start of a six-month period to finish the work.

A reader posed a question about the Broadway Bridge project and the Times has an answer:

The question:


Any idea why the 180-day contract period on the new Broadway Bridge started October 1 at 12:00 a.m. since the bridge was closed on Wednesday September 28 in the late morning? Was Massman [the contractor] allowed to do any work between late that Wednesday morning until midnight Friday night, a little more than 2 1/2 days?

Quote below taken from:

“This clock is the official countdown of that 180-day period, which began at 12:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 1st.”

Looks like AHTD counts time the same way they do I-30 lanes, with funny math.

I asked Danny Straessle, spokesman for the Arkansas Highway Department, why the “clock” started Oct. 1 when the bridge closed Sept. 28.

We didn’t start charging time against the 180-days until Oct 1st.

In an effort to help speed things along, it was closed 2.5 days before so we could get in the decommissioning ceremony and so the contractor could mill the asphalt off the bridge unimpeded by live traffic.

I followed up, asking why that didn’t qualify as work on the bridge.


The alternative would have been two grueling last days of the bridge and for the motoring public with lane closures so they could mill the asphalt.

Additionally, we weren’t really sure what removal of the asphalt would reveal (condition of original pavement underneath) and felt more comfortable keeping live traffic off it.

The contractor notified us they would be ready to close the bridge on October 1st. The ensuing discussion included fitting in the ceremony (without getting in the contractor’s way) as well as the above mentioned pavement concerns.

In short, instead of the lane closures, we opted to just go ahead and close the bridge. Since Massman is working around the clock we wanted to pick a closing date/time so the public could participate in the ceremony and give anyone interested a chance to say goodbye.

They were doing more than milling asphalt before Oct. 1, as Brian Chilson photos taken Sept. 30 illustrate. One example: