Repairs to the Highway 149 overpass crossing Interstate 40 east of Forrest City will take nearly a month to complete.
The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) says the bridge will be closed for about three weeks while construction crews work to repair an apparent failure in the shoring of an embankment where a new overpass is being built.
Traffic on I-40 is not affected by this closure.
The contractor has brought in additional resources to speed up completion of the work needed to re-open the roadway. About two-thousand vehicles travel across the overpass daily, 43-percent of which are heavy trucks.
The construction is taking place at the Earle exit near Shell Lake on I-40 (Exit 260). During the closure, Exit 260 will remain open, but traffic will not be allowed to cross the Interstate. I-40 eastbound traffic can only access State Highway 149 to the south, and I-40 westbound traffic can only access Highway 149 to the north.
Message boards have been placed on I-40 that detour motorists at Exits 256 and 265 to enable crossing of the Interstate for motorists wishing to access Highway 149.
The project was successfully bid in June 2012 by Tulsa-based Manhattan Road & Bridge Company for approximately $7.5 million. Work began in August. Completion for the new overpass is estimated to be in fall 2013.
Drivers are advised to be extra careful when approaching and traveling through all highway work zones.
Original report (January 13):
A portion of the dirt under the approach to the Highway 149 overpass washed away.
The highway goes to Earle in St. Francis County
That section of 149 will remain closed until repairs can be made.
Interstate 40 traffic is not affected.