Arkansas Considers Remodel for Highway 60

May 9, 2024
Consistent flooding has raised the need for improvements

A vital connection, Highway 60 and the Toad Suck Dam Bridge that connects Faulkner and Perry County could be remodeled in a way that would help reduce flooding in the area.

Perry County Judge Larry Blackmon said this discussion started because Hwy 60 has flooded three times since 2015 and the bridge was shut down for day in 2019.

"The road went completely underwater and was impassable for seven to 10 days," said Blackmon. "People were wanting to change this road so it would not happen again.”

During an Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) public meeting at the end of April, they showed preliminary designs to remedy that problem.

Blackmon said residents were split 50/50 because the new road will be raised about 6 feet, which means the bridge and highway on the Perry County side will have to be raised as well.

"This means the bridge would have to be closed for three weeks," said Blackmon. "A lot of citizens are concerned about how it will impact their lives if it closes for three weeks.”

The Perry County project would affect part of Toad Suck Park.

The park, owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a public campground, accommodates both tent and RV camping. The park also has day-use picnic shelters and access to the Arkansas River via a concrete boat ramp. The Toad Suck Lock and Dam Bridge passes over the park and a park road that provides access to the north section of the park.

Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry said Perry and Faulkner County residents use that bridge daily.

“I-40 runs through Conway," said Castleberry. "If we had a large incident that shut down the interstate, you have the Old Morrilton Highway that runs parallel to the interstate, that would be the only east and west passage to get folks from Perry County to Conway for healthcare, medical care”.

So shutting the bridge down to improve it might be an issue.

“There would be alternate routes that people would have to use," said Blackmon. "Another impact that will have to be looked at is how this will affect local businesses while the bridge is closed and how it will change the road after, it will definitely affect those local businesses in the area. That is what has people concerned but ARDOT is good about planning for contingencies and detours. I think if we do move forward with this project, they will make this as painless as possible”

Blackmon said other factors will have to be considered as well including the cost of this project and where it will fit into the budget.

If the project goes forward, ARDOT estimates it to start sometime in the Fall of 2026.

ARDOT is still taking public comment from anyone that could be impacted by this project until May 15.



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