Bye-Bye, Broadway Bridge
By Olivia Parker
The Broadway Bridge closed on Wednesday, September 28. The world did not end with the much-anticipated first rush-hour traffic in downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock without the Broadway Bridge. The bridge was built in 1922 to commemorate all the soldiers who fought in World War I. The bridge was ninety-three years old and was built for $970,000. Today, the budget is set at $98.4 million. Broadway was retired in a formal decommission ceremony with an honor guard, singing of the national anthem, and speeches given by several dignitaries. The original bridge was opened on Christmas Day in 1922, and the date for the new bridge is set to open on March 28, 2017. The bridge’s asphalt was completely gone in two days in accordance with the fast-paced construction schedule. Most of the debris will be dumped into the river temporarily and will be recovered near the end of the project. Nothing bigger than a bowling ball will be left in the river.
We live in a city that is divided by a river but joined by our bridge system. Before the bridge closed, 25,000 cars crossed the bridge every day and only 12,000 cars crossed the Main Street Bridge. Now that all traffic has been directed towards the two remaining bridges, everybody has been advised to be patient. The new bridge, like the old one, will honor veterans, but the new bridge will be a “living tribute” to all veterans- past, present, and future. Even though it will be a grueling six months for commuters from North Little Rock, it will soon be a landmark in Arkansas for years to come.