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Miller County bridge should be repaired soon

Miller County bridge should be repaired soon

May 19th, 2017 by Jim Williamson in Texarkana News

Karl Marx with Cleve Batte Construction Inc. watches on as recycled crushed concrete is poured over a felt sheet on the new culvert Wednesday on Miller County Road 64 after it collapsed last April.

Photo by Jerry Habraken /Texarkana Gazette.

Depending on the weather, the construction crews should finish repairs on Miller County Road 64 bridge within about two weeks, said Miller County Judge Roy John McNatt.

The bridge collapsed about 5 p.m. March 26 on Miller County Road 64 near Tyson's River Valley Animal Food plant. The collapse happened near the Red River.

Construction crews, with contractor Wiley Calhoun, laid about 10 inches of asphalt Thursday. The finishing work on the road will continue for about another two weeks and maybe longer depending on the weather forecast that says rain in expected, said McNatt.

"It's looking real good. Tyson is happy. I'm happy and everybody is happy," he said.

The replacement of the bridge has been complicated, McNatt said.

The crews used 12 railroad tank cars to replace the collapsed bridge. Then the tank cars were welded together and dirt, gravel and packing sand was placed over the tank cars. Finally asphalt will be laid over the bridge.

The estimated cost will probably exceed $200,000, McNatt said. Each tank car costs about $10,000, and with 12 tank car culverts, that's $120,000.

Each tank car is made of steel and weighs about 40,000 pounds. The structure can carry 50 tons and spans about 80 feet.

The railroad car culvert can also carry a continuous flow of water.

Heavy traffic and time have been blamed for the culvert collapse.

A temporary road was constructed within 24 hours to keep traffic flowing, McNatt said. The road was compacted to carry 80,000 pounds.

"We used one of the tank cars to build a temporary road, and the Tyson plant never had to shut down. They have a lot of employees, and they're running everyday," he said.

Tyson has about 120 employees at the plant and an estimated 150 tractor-trailers travel the road daily, in addition to passenger vehicles.

Cleve Batte Construction is helping the county's road crews replace the culvert. "It's an emergency, and we're using them to help repair the road," McNatt said.

The removal of the old bridge left a hole about 30 feet deep and wide.

No one was hurt when it collapsed, but Mikel Frazier, 41, of Russellville, Ark., had a close call. According to Miller County Sheriff's Office, he couldn't see the hole until he was too close to avoid driving into it.

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