BEAVER -- On Monday, Nov. 26, Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department crews will begin performing daily maintenance to the Beaver Bridge on Highway 187 over the White River, forcing the bridge's closure from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m weekdays.
The closure will remain in effect for three weeks, weather permitting.
The bridge will be open before and after those hours so that locals can get to work and school buses can pick up students for school. The maintenance is largely routine and occurs nearly annually to some degree, officials said.
"The bridge is needing some repairs, and everyone needs to adjust their schedules," said Holiday Island Fire Chief Jack Deaton. "We've done it before, and we can do it again."
Emergency response time may be slower than normal because of the closure, but Deaton remains confident that this should not affect those in need of emergency assistance.
"It will hinder us a bit, but we will have emergency vehicles on each side of the bridge," he said. "We will just have to take the time to cross the bridge on foot."
Bridge crews from Little Rock will be doing repairs on wood beams, as well as performing yearly maintenance. The AHTD will focus on two sections of the bridge, in areas vehicles drive on; there are small holes in the timber and it is vital to fix those areas, officials said.
"The last time the planks were replaced was about 10 years ago," said state maintenance engineer Tony Sullivan. "There are holes in short sections in the runners [timber] on the bridge, and that needs to be replaced."
"This is an old bridge, and it needs maintenance for upkeep," said AHTD district engineer Steve Lawrence. "The beams are worn in places and it will take a fair amount of work on a regular basis to keep it in working condition."
Motorists should plan an alternate route during the hours that the bridge is closed. There is limited parking on the west side of the bridge and those that need to park their cars to cross by foot, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., should keep the roadway clear, authorities said.
"We have never had any problems in the past," Lawrence said. "People just need to make room for Highway Department vehicles so they can get on the bridge to work."