The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department says the new U.S. Highway 70 Broadway Bridge will open to traffic next week. The Department says it was informed by the contractor Massman Construction Co. that the bridge will be ready at a time "yet to be determined" next week.
The Department is scheduling a “ceremonial first crossing” on Monday, February 27 at 3:30pm. The completion is nearly a month ahead of schedule for the $98.4 million project. The bridge has been closed since late September of last year.
From an AHTD press release:
When the bridge opens to traffic next week, only north-south vehicular connectivity across the Arkansas River will be available. Massman Construction Co. will spend the following weeks completing the tie-in of the southbound off-ramp that will carry traffic to westbound State Highway 10. Additionally, the 16-foot shared-use path will not open for several weeks as Massman works to tie-in ramps on both sides of the river to the Arkansas River Trail. Announcements will be made as these features become available.
Motorists can expect occasional lane closures on the bridge once it opens to traffic as the contractor works to complete miscellaneous items. The lane closures will occur during off-peak times (outside of commute hours and on weekends).
The Department says it will hold an official ribbon-cutting to celebrate the opening of the bridge in a parking lot near Dickey Stephens Ballpark in North Little Rock on Thursday, April 6 at 4pm.
The Highway Department offered the contractor an $80,000 a day incentive to complete construction early. The cutoff date for completion was set for the end of March. If the contractor could not complete the project by the scheduled time, it would be fined $80.000 a day for every day it is late.