RIVER VALLEY (KFSM) — The Broadway Street Bridge, more commonly known as the Midland Bridge, and the I-540 Bridge in Fort Smith and Van Buren closed Monday night (May 27) about 10 p.m., leaving the State Highway 59 Bridge as the area's only available crossing left.
BREAKING NEWS - the US 71B (Midland) and the I-540 bridges over the #Arkansas River in Ft. Smith will close tonight beginning at 10:00 pm local time. The only available crossing in the area is the State Highway 59 bridge. #ARnews #ARtraffic #ARwx
— Arkansas DOT (@myARDOT) May 27, 2019
Emergency crews began putting barricades around the bridges around 10 p.m.
With the Arkansas River above flood stage, several roads in the River Valley are still closed.
Crews are continually monitoring the rise of the river and reporting data back to the Corps of Engineers in order to determine what roads need to be closed.
Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) spokesperson Danny Straessle says that if the bridges are closed it’s because of the water flow, not because of the structure itself. He says the bridges are designed to handle tremendous water flow.
Straessle says 10 segments in the River Valley are currently underwater, with the most prominent being Rogers Ave. and Hwy. 22. The U.S. Hwy. 64 bridge that carries traffic into Oklahoma is closed due to overtopping of the lanes in Oklahoma.