The fate of the existing Ouachita River Bridge was addressed Tuesday by the Arkadelphia City Board of Directors.

The fate of the existing Ouachita River Bridge was addressed Tuesday by the Arkadelphia City Board of Directors.
The new Ouachita River Bridge is scheduled to open next month. The City of Arkadelphia, along with the Federal Highway Administration, the Arkansas State Historical Preservation Officer and Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department signed a memorandum of agreement for the city in 2013 to receive the bridge as a non-vehicular facility once the new bridge is opened to traffic.
“The agreement would be for the city to assume title of the bridge and assume all preservation and maintenance of the bridge,” said Arkadelphia City Manager Gary Brinkley.
In addition, an offer to provide $148,000 for bridge repurposing is available. The agreement also includes covenants that the city would guarantee all work would be done in accordance to the secretary of the Interior’s Standards for treatment of historic properties.
According to Brinkley, the $148,000 would be a reimbursement grant. The city would expense the funds and then be reimbursed.
“Additionally, if we accepted the $148,000 we would not be eligible for any TAP (Transportation Alternatives Program) or RTP (Recreational Trails Program) grants which are up to $500,000 thus making the acceptance of the $148,000 unattractive,” Brinkley said.
Brinkley noted the Ouachita River Commission funded a Phase I Bridge Study in November 2016 to evaluate the condition of the bridge and to prepare funding recommendations. The study identified short-term repairs to be $674,488, while long-term maintenance would be $610,800.
Ward 1 Director Taylor Chaney noted a recommendation in the Phase I study to do a Phase II study. He also pointed out an issue in the memorandum of understanding regarding the transfer of the title.
Given the fact that there he did not enough information to make a decision Tuesday, Chaney made a motion to table the item until the June 5 meeting to allow time to find out if the Phase II study could be conducted by the highway department and when the title of the bridge would be conveyed to the city.
Should the board of directors elect to accept the bridge, no further action is required. The title will be conveyed to the city who will assume responsibility.
If the board declines the acceptance of the bridge, the conveying of the title will cease once the architectural historian for the Arkansas Department of Transportation has been notified by Brinkley.