BONO, Ark. – Craighead County Judge Ed Hill sent updates to the media this week about two popularly discussed projects in Bono.
Bono Bridge Project
Hill wrote in an email six years after the old wooden overpass structure was removed by BNSF Railway, a new modern structure is scheduled to start bid letting in September. The project is said to enhance safety for the traveling public and for rail traffic.
“The original Old Bono Bridge structure was removed days after I took office in 2011,” Hill wrote. “I have worked with AHTD and BNSF since that time to restore the overpass. The last three years have included negotiations for funding with AHTD and back and forth with BNSF for an easement to restore the overpass. Federal Aid Project funding (80% from federal sources, 18% from state sources, and 2% local) were provided by AHTD some time ago.”
Hill said his office was recently able to sign an agreement with BNSF Railway for the easement needed over the tracks for the project.
“I commend both groups for being excellent community partners and their willingness to sit at the table with Craighead County,” Hill wrote. “There were a number of citizens that provided either temporary or permanent easements for construction of this project as well. To each of them, I express my gratitude for their cooperation. I also encourage each of you to thank Commissioner Alec Farmer. He was of great assistance in ensuring we experienced no additional delay in the bidding of this project.”
The new structure will connect Craighead County Road 352 across the railroad to CR 353 and provide an alternative route to the eastern portion of the City of Bono. Hill said the route is essential to providing emergency responders an alternative route when trains restrict the flow of traffic over the normal routes.
“The overpass location was moved slightly for construction purposes and I am convinced the new location is better for traffic,” Hill said. “I am always pleased to see the efforts of the staff in my office come to fruition. We heard many “no’s” over the years, but always found a way to return to the table to continue discussions. I appreciate the patience of the Quorum Court as we have worked through the difficulties faced on this project.”
The other update provided by Hill in an email sent out Wednesday was on the Lake Bono property. Hill said all documents have been signed to transfer the ownership property to Craighead County and it should be done by next week.
Hill said efforts have been to let the lake “settle” since construction was finalized, to help establish a fish population. He said some reforestation has occurred to help with vegetation removed during construction. The hope is the vegetation will enhance the clarity of the water over time.
Hill said Arkansas Game and Fish Commission installed temporary improvements at the lake to allow better access. Also, he said county road crews began work on the road base to the lake to prepare for eventual paving.
“AGFC committed to paving 1-mile of the roadway to the lake, maintaining the fish population, a boat ramp into the lake, a handicap accessible fishing pier, and paved parking near the boat ramp,” Hill said. “I look forward to working with them to continue these improvements to the property. My office has worked on securing outside funding to develop a master plan for the property. Discussions have also been held with AHTD related to funding for horse trails, with the hope that a partnership with the City of Bono and AHTD will provide trails that are beneficial in that area.”
Featured photo taken by Thomas R Machnitzki.