Sunday, July 04, 2010

Here we go again!

Last Summer, US 71 north of Mountaiburg was closed for several months following a washout. What started out as a relatively simple project turned into something more. Instead of fixing one lane, the whole roadway had to be rebuilt.  Eventually, the roadway was repaired and everything returned to normal.

Back in April, I spied another potential washout, again on US 71. This one was approximately 2 miles north of the previous washout, about 2 miles south of Artist's Point.

You can see here the cracks developing as well as some previous attempts to patch the damage.

  

I've been by a couple times since and it appears AHTD has applied some crack sealer to some of the damage... but will that suffice? They did the same thing to the other washout last year until it became apparent it wasn't working. 

Yes, washouts do happen, especially in mountainous areas. AR 7, AR 23, AR 16, US 71... all have suffered washouts. But two in two years along 71? I thought AHTD was still going to care for roadway after I-540 opened... at least, that's what they promised to do. But then, US 71 is over 80 years old. It hasn't had any major work done for over 20 years, and most of that was just widening some of the narrow curves.

Well, OK, AHTD is replacing some bridges between West Fork and Winslow. Now, most of those bridges dated back to the 1960's and were starting to show their age, but I doubt any of them were in danger of collapsing. Why couldn't the money have been used to ensure the roadwasy itself wasn't washing away?

Oh wait! This is Arkansas. We use economic recovery money to repave perfectly good roads and ignore roads and bridges that really need work.

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