NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A wooden bridge off West 14th Street in North Little has been shut down for two years now because its unique structure is considered dangerous.
People who live in that area will be happy to hear that the wait is finally over.
The bridge will be replaced thanks to a grant from the Arkansas Department of Transportation.
Several residents who were around the bridge on Tuesday afternoon had no idea about the grant, but all of them had the same reaction once they heard - relief.
"Thank God. Whenever they fix it, everybody will be glad it's fixed, whatever when they or remodel it," said Valeria Magsby, a North Little Rock resident. "Everybody will be happy."
She said she thinks this will be the reaction by many North Little Rock residents when they hear the nearly 100-year-old wooden bridge will be replaced.
"When it first closed, everybody was frustrated," Magsby said.
Orange and white striped barricades popped up two years ago blocking cars and pedestrians from access.
North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith said the bridge was not safe for anything or anyone to cross.
"The structure was not structurally sound," he said.
Smith said says the city applied for a $470,000 grant a year ago, after different safety issues came into play.
"We realized that was a dangerous area because there's so much traffic, foot traffic, by children going to and from the Boys and Girls Club," he said.
Smith said since it has been shut down, kids have started to go underneath the bridge, with the railroad tracks just to get to the other side.
He said this is exactly why this grant is necessary.
"The children and pedestrians in that area don't have to worry about being stopped for minutes or hours at a time by railroad cars. They can cross the railroad tracks safely," Smith said.
Magsby said the bridge being shut down has been a hassle.
She said normal commutes that take her five minutes have increased to 25—solely because she is waiting on the train.
"We only have one exit in and one exit out once the train is sitting on the track," Magsby said.
Smith said the new grant will be relieving a lot of stress.
"We're definitely excited about the opportunity to help that neighborhood be more safe," he said.
Smith said there is no exact date of when construction will begin, but the city and union pacific railroad engineers met this morning to start working on a plan.
The new bridge will be pedestrian use only.