Highway W Bridge opens ahead of schedule pleases residents
Larry Cotrell, former Poplar Bluff coroner, is one local resident that is thankful for Tuesdays early opening of the new Hilliard Bridge on W Highway. “It is hard to be unhappy with the bridge out when you see how hard these guys have worked,” said Cotrell. “If I am going east of town, I take (County Road) 542 which is gravel for about three miles and I come out on NN, but if I am going to this side of town, I have to take O and that is the 23 miles,” stated Cotrell. “It is going to be wonderful.” He went on to add, “You know, it is amazing how many people we have met that live on O that we never knew about, now they come up here about 6 in the evening to see what’s been done with the bridge.” Cotrell rolled up to the newly constructed bridge Tuesday on his blue tractor loaded with iced beverages to celebrate the event local residents have been eagerly awaiting for some time. Christy Pierce, local resident and DAR employee said, “It has been a very long summer, having to go around any direction we went was at least a 30-minute drive — we are really appreciative that it is opening ahead of schedule, those guys worked very hard to get that finished.” The approach guard rails to the bridge were installed Monday and the striping was completed Tuesday afternoon. The bridge opened to traffic as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, according to contractors. Boat ramp access to the river will likely remain closed until the end of the month so crews can finish up underneath the bridge according to Travis Slayton, project manager for Robertson Contractors Inc. “We can’t say enough about how these guys worked hard, a lot of weekends and long hours. We’re very proud and the bridge is officially open as of 5 p.m.” said Slayton.