by Max Brantley
Metroplan today announced that Bob Dahms and Randy Murphy had tied in the design competition for a replacement for the Broadway Bridge. Since we ran Murphy's classical design earlier, I've put Dahms' more modern structure atop today. It's called a cable stay bridge, with a single spire, and is similar to a Mississippi River bridge at Greenville, Miss.
The design contest is just part of a PR campaign to press the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to do something exciting with its design work. These designs won't actually be used. More details here.
I'm sticking with my preference for a modestly priced functional new span at Chester Street (my sources insist it could tie into North Little Rock roadways without a major conflict with the railroad bridge to the east) and then plan comprehensively for an architectural marvel at Broadway after a traffic safety valve is in place. I might retire in 2013 rather than face the traffic nightmare otherwise sure to ensue. (Don't everybody cheer that at once.)
North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays mentioned, by the way, that replacing the Broadway Bridge immediately isn't the only option. He mentioned that it could stay open until there's a consensus on what should be done. I guess that could include design as well as another span.