Historic Lafayette and Maple Street bridges to be renovated

Photo by Todd Gill / Enlarge
A severely bent railing is one of a few unfortunate features of the historic Lafayette Street bridge in Fayetteville.

A complete cosmetic overhaul is likely in store for two historic bridges in downtown Fayetteville.

The City Council’s Street Committee last week approved plans to renovate the Lafayette and Maple street bridges which cross over the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad tracks between West and Arkansas avenues.

Bent and rusted railings, chipped concrete and broken lights contribute to an unfortunate eyesore in the downtown/Dickson area. The view from the Lafayette Street bridge is great, especially at sundown, and one of the newest and most popular sections of the city’s trail system runs right underneath it.

City officials have said there are no structural problems with the 1930s-era bridges. As recently as 2009, the bridges were certified as safe for motorists and pedestrians by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.

If the council this week approves using as much as $1 million in federal money to put towards the estimated $1.4 million project, the renovation project will be a go.

“The first step from there is to procure a design consultant,” said city engineer Chris Brown. “In the past, that has taken several months to do that using federal funds. It could easily be six months before we begin design.”

The remaining cost would be carried by the most current Transportation Improvement Bond Program.


A plaque on the northeast side of the Maple Street bridge.

The light fixtures on both bridges are completely destroyed.

A severely bent railing on the Lafayette Street bridge.

A closer shot of the damage on Lafayette Street over the railroad tracks.

Looking south from the Lafayette Street bridge towards Dickson Street.

The Frisco Trails runs underneath the Lafayette Street bridge.