LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Thousands of people must find alternate routes in and out of downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock due to the upcoming closure of a 93-year-old bridge.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette ( reports that the Broadway Bridge will close Wednesday to the 25,000 vehicles that use it to cross the Arkansas River each day.

Danny Straessle of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department advised motorists to find alternate routes across the river for now.

“Do not wait until the bridge closes,” Straessle said.

Much of the bridge’s traffic is expected to move to the Main Street bridge, which has a daily traffic count of about 12,000.

The old bridge, which was dedicated to World War I soldiers when it opened in 1923, will be replaced with a new bridge. The project is expected to last six months, and bridge contractor Massman Construction Co. will be assessed an $80,000 penalty for each day it goes over. Massman will also receive a bonus of the same amount for each day the project is completed sooner.

Straessle said residents can expect nonstop, around-the-clock construction, Sundays and holidays included.

There will be a decommissioning ceremony held on Wednesday. Pulaski County communications director Cozetta Jones said people will be allowed to park on the bridge, but must clear out when it’s time for the bridge to close.

The cost of the bridge project is $98.4 million.

Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette,