Walnut Hills residents still fighting for old bridge

Walnut Hills residents still fighting for old bridge
Walnut Hills Bridge on Dewey, North Amarillo
Walnut Hills Bridge on Dewey, North Amarillo
Walnut Hills Bridge on Dewey, North Amarillo
Walnut Hills Bridge on Dewey, North Amarillo
Walnut Hills Bridge on Dewey, North Amarillo
Walnut Hills Bridge on Dewey, North Amarillo
Walnut Hills Bridge on Dewey, North Amarillo
Walnut Hills Bridge on Dewey, North Amarillo

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The Walnut Hills bridge may not be considered an historical landmark, but residents like Channing Sparks say it's something that holds a lot of neighborhood memories.

"This bridge has been out here basically my whole life. This area is somewhere where I grew up, I was born and raised," said Sparks. "So, it's something that I remember riding our bikes across, there's been graduation pictures, prom pictures, car shoots and things like that."

Sparks says the 60-year-old, wood-decked, metal arch bridge has had little to no repairs done over the years and is falling apart -- gaining the attention of Potter County leaders and TxDOT.

"TxDOT and Potter County has been working with the residents for several years on what to do about the structure that's out there, because frankly it does need to be replaced," said TxDOT Spokesperson Paul Braun.

"The bridge, in reality, is not a safe," said Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner. "We're concerned about it, the actual safety of them driving over it and what would happen if it caved in with a car on it."

Over the years, residents have asked to restore the bridge, but TxDOT says that's out of the question and plan to tear out the existing bridge and replace it with a concrete bridge --getting rid of the unique characteristics the residents love. And even more devastating for them is the cost -- a whopping $1.2 million, with taxpayers fronting about 10% of that bill.

"It's kind of frustrating to have something that has a price tag of $1.2 million to cross 60 feet to support 11 homes," said Sparks.

While the bridge might not last much longer at Walnut Hills, Judge Tanner says it will in another area.

"We're going to make it a bicycle and walking bridge at a city park," said Tanner.

At this time, it is unclear which Amarillo park the bridge will go to. And while the Walnut Hills residents are losing the bridge in the neighborhood, they say they are glad it is not being completely dumped.

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