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File photo

PRUITT — With a new bridge under construction on Highway 7 at Pruitt, some closures are scheduled to begin Wednesday.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation awarded the contract to replace the bridge earlier this year. Crouse’s bid was about $13.6 million.

The condition of the existing bridge, built in 1931, has deteriorated over the years as traffic between Harrison and Russellville on Highway 7 has increased.

According to ArDOT, an average of 2,800 vehicles crossed the Pruitt Bridge per day in 2016 and 13% of those vehicles were large trucks.

According to the National Park Service, construction will begin Wednesday, July 10, and area closures will be established to protect park visitors, resources, contractor staff and equipment.

Except for paddling and equestrian thru-traffic, the Buffalo River and its banks from the Pruitt Bridge to the edge of the cleared construction area will be closed until further notice. Construction is not expected to affect access to Pruitt Landing on the east side of the bridge.

Visitors may still use the swimming area upstream of the bridge at the Pruitt day use area, equestrian users may still access the Old River Trail/North River Road and hikers may still access the Mill Creek Trail during this time.

The Pruitt Bluffs area will only be accessible by boat or by hiking upstream from the Lower Pruitt Landing area.

ArDOT officials say Crouse’s contract allows for 240 work days, which means the company is only charged for days when weather permits work.

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