OPINION | DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Full paving of viaduct inadvisable

Dear Fast Track: The Locust street viaduct in North Little Rock enables drivers to reach downtown destinations without adding to interstate congestion. Unless some repairs are made it will become almost unusable because of the potholes. Is the structure sound enough to support a layer of asphalt? As the old Broadway bridge could attest, some of these old structures don't want to give up, and a layer of asphalt, if feasible, would be welcome. Thanks. I shall remember you in my will. -- Pothole Dodger

Dear Dodger: We have four things to say about this.

First, forget the will. Our ways are wastrel.

Second, we spent some time on the Main Street Bridge watching the old Broadway Bridge come down -- not! After the controlled detonation it took a tug with cable to get the old gal in the river. The best-laid plans of mice and engineers oft go astray.

Third, two of our favorite engineers are Deric Wyatt, state maintenance engineer for the Arkansas Department of Transportation; and Tony Evans, the District 6 engineer. They had lots to say.

They agree the bridge over the railroad tracks is owned by ArDot. Both it and the parallel Interstate 30 bridge are not part of the current 30 Crossing project to rehabilitate much of Interstate 30 through Little Rock and North Little Rock.

But they will be considered for future phases of 30 Crossing should the funding become available.

About potholes everywhere: ArDot maintenance crews are patching potholes faster than ... fill in a comical metaphor.

Placing an asphalt overlay across the entire bridge deck is inadvisable because it greatly increases the deterioration rate of the concrete, and makes inspection more difficult.

Maintenance crews will schedule patching for this bridge to improve the condition of the driving surface.

Fourth, we have since driven over the Locust Street viaduct and confirm some of the potholes have been filled.

Dear Ph.D. (Pavement Head Director): While sitting at the stop light at Interstate 430 before heading west on Arkansas 10 this dumb as dirt, idiotic moron pulled up next to me with two dogs in the bed of the truck. Is there not a law prohibiting such irresponsible behavior? One wrong move and the dogs could have ended up on the pavement! -- Common Sense

Dear Sense: We looked up Arkansas Code Annotated 5-62-103, Offense of Cruelty to Animals. Many offenses are listed. The one in question tells us it's illegal to carry "in or upon any motorized vehicle or boat an animal in a cruel or inhumane manner."

Is it cruel to have a dog in the back of a pickup? Maybe not. Most dogs we know would love a truck bed.

Is it inhumane to do so? We aren't a judge, but if a dog were flung out in an accident, badly hurt or killed, we'd rule that the driver was acting in an inhumane manner.

Also, dumb as dirt.