FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA)- At a press conference on Thursday (May 30), governor Hutchinson spoke on the Garrison Bridge, which has been closed to traffic for the past several days due to flooding.
“Don’t think that because the sun’s out and that the waters are receding little by little, that the emergency is over,” said U.S. Representative, Steve Womack.
Governor Asa Hutchinson echoed representative Steve Womack, saying the work is just beginning.
“I’m very concerned about the navigation channel. And that’s what’s going to take probably a couple of months to get that channel,” Hutchinson said.
The bridge connects Arkansas and Oklahoma and is used to transport goods daily.
“It’s $23 million each day in economic benefit to our state,” the governor said. “Whenever it’s not operational, we lose that economic benefit.”
According to Womack, it’s not just the state feeling the impact of flooding, but also the farmers.
“They’ve been already hit by tariffs, they’ve been hit by low commodity prices and now this,” Womack said. “I just fear in some cases, we’re going to lose them from that enterprise.”
The governor said he’s been in contact with President Donald Trump about the flooding and said the president has expressed great concern with what is happening in the area.
“He really wanted to learn more about the impact of it and how we were dealing with it,” Hutchinson said.
The governor said the president promised assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency which is now in the area to help. In the meantime, lawmakers said it’s important to be safe.
“Let’s make sure that we’re mindful of the fact that there’s still a lot of danger out there,” Womack said.