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Few tears for old 82 bridge

Aside from being the official birthday of Magnolia Marketplace, July 26 will be a big day. In Washington County, a torch will be passed.

The new Highway 82 bridge that will connect Mississippi and Arkansas over the Mississippi River will make its debut in Greenville. Our collegue, Wally Northway, is working on an advance story about it that will run in next week’s MBJ.

Wally, a native of Greenville, has a more than a few stories about the old bridge, which was built in 1940. Most of them aren’t happy.

For starters, the bridge was narrow. The roadway was only 24 feet wide and didn’t have a shoulder. You didn’t want to meet a tractor trailer on it. Nor was it ever any fun to cross it at night, especially if rain was falling.

Its location on the river wasn’t that favorable for towboats. Captains earned their money negotiating the bend to the north. The bridge has been hit by river traffic countless times.

Economic developers think the new one have a positive impact. Besides having wider roadways, the approaches make it easier for wide loads to cross from one state to another, making the transport of goods quicker and cheaper.

“The old bridge served us well,” Northway said. “But good riddance.”

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