Ashley County is building bridges this year.
County Judge Jim Hudson said the county has already completed four bridges in the Overflow Hill area, and others are planned around the county.
Where the Overflow bridges were placed were prone to flooding, Hudson said, and bridges allowed the hydrologic pressure that leads to flooding to release faster.
“They are shorter bridges,” Hudson said. “We put them in so we could relieve the water. The bayou gets up and it gets to be a headache.”
The county judge said there are also plans to install a bridge on Ashley 3.
“We will put a 60-foot bridge on the Meridian Church road where all the culverts are,” he said. “A bridge just relieves more water than a culvert does.”
At this point in time, bridges are the price-conscious course of action, Hudson said.
“As many culverts as we have put down there, it is cheaper for us to build a bridge than it is to install a culvert; the price of steel has gone up,” he said. “I figured it up and it is going to be $20,000 to $30,000 cheaper to put a bridge in.”
The spans the county is building now are concrete, because the materials will have lasting power, Hudson said.
“With a concrete bridge, when we are old and gray, it will still be there,” he said.
Hudson said he is also planning to repave the Old Crossett Highway and to chip-seal Ashley 13, which only has an inch of gravel under the roadway at present.
“That is why it is giving in,” Hudson said. “It needs more foundation. We know that, in this county, if we do not fix a road to (be able to) hold a log truck, it is going to break again. It needs a good foundation.”
Hudson said he knows people get frustrated with road construction when it’s happening, but the ultimate goal of this work is to need less of it in the future.
“I am after something that, whoever is (judge) after me, will not have to fix and patch and fix and patch,” he said.