The University Street Bridge over Sager Creek is a key part of Siloam Springs’ infrastructure. The project to replace the old bridge is slated to wrap up next month, barring inclement weather. Yet, the project has already dragged on for months. We at the Threefold believe the bridge project should have taken on more of a priority, seeing as without the bridge, many are cut off from downtown and even more are inconvenienced.
The bridge is a key connection between downtown and John Brown University, as well as Western Siloam Springs. Without it, a significant portion of Siloam Springs’ residents seeking to travel downtown is funneled onto a one-lane bridge. This inconveniences both those who work downtown and potential patrons of downtown businesses.
The bridge replacement project severs the link between John Brown University and the city’s beautiful downtown, and it makes attracting students to downtown businesses less likely.
Main Street Siloam is trying to drive traffic away from businesses on Highway 412 and toward Broadway and University Street in an effort to continue revitalizing the city’s historic downtown area. Yet for those who live at or around John Brown University and want to drive to Wal-Mart and other surrounding shops, the lack of a bridge makes taking Holly Street to Highway 412 a significantly easier route.
This alternative is bad for the local economy and the future development of the town. Businesses on Highway 412 will always have traffic from people driving around town to sustain them. Downtown businesses, on the other hand, rely on locals.
The next time the city plans to replace a piece of infrastructure so important to and key to its downtown core, it should wait until it has the resources to finish the project quickly and effectively.