Broken Bridge Shuts Down Rail and River Traffic

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A broken bridge has shut down rail and river traffic in the River Valley.

Crews trying to cross the bridge over the Arkansas River, between Fort Smith and Van Buren, noticed the mechanical failure shortly before midnight Monday (Jan 20), according to A & M Railroad Police Chief Ron Sparks.

"We do have some suspicions that the high gust of winds could've played a factor in it," Sparks said. "We're not sure yet until we get the bridge inspectors to tell us what all is wrong with the bridge, but it did snap two of the cables."

Sparks said two of the cables, which raise and lower the bridge, are broken and crews are investigating to determine the cause of the break.

Bridge experts from St. Louis are coming to assess the problem. Sparks said he’s hopeful they’ll be in town by Tuesday evening.

"Right now the rail traffic is stopped going past the bridge, so we can't serve our customers on the south end at this time," Sparks said.

With one end of the railroad bridge stuck down and the other end raised, barge traffic along the Arkansas River has been put to a halt until repairs can be made.

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