Hwy 71 bridges are now closed due to flooding of the Red River.
Hwy 71 bridges are now closed due to flooding of the Red River.

US Hwy 71 closed

Flooding of Red River has now cut off students from school.

May 29, 2015

Due to the rising levels of the Red River between Ashdown, AR and Texarkana, the U.S. Highway 71/59 bridges are temporarily closed to insure the safety of citizens in surrounding areas. Students and faculty members who live in areas that are accessed from the bridge will have to find a new route to get to and from school.

“We are being kept updated by the department of public safety on the current stages of flooding and will help relay information to our faculty, staff and students as this information becomes available,” Principal Brad Bailey said. “We will not be penalizing any of our staff or students for not being able to attend school or travel due to the flooding in their areas.”

Administration is focused on the safety of its students and staff and is willing to cooperate with anyone who could be affected by the flood.

“We are here to help provide any assistance as needed and are more than willing to accommodate any requests,” Bailey said.“It is our hope that everyone remains safe, and their homes and property along these areas are not affected

“We are here to help provide any assistance as needed and are more than willing to accommodate any requests,” Bailey said.“It is our hope that everyone remains safe, and their homes and property along these areas are not affected.”

— Texas High School Principal Brad Bailey

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Senior Kallie Phillips is one of the students who will be affected by the closing of the bridges. She lives in Ashdown and will have to drive through Fulton to get to Texarkana, expanding her normal 25 minute drive to over an hour.

“It makes me feel really good that administration is willing to help us out, regarding tardies or absences,” Phillips said.  “I can enjoy my last days of school without having to worry about penalizations that could affect graduation.”

Although Phillips isn’t in immediate danger from the rising tides, she is willing to reach out to others who are in need. If you are interested in aiding victims, visit redcross.org to find opportunities to help.

“It will affect others because I know people that live down close by the river, and they may possibly have to temporarily evacuate their house,” Phillips said. “My dad and I live far enough away from the actual water that we don’t have to prepare for anything bad, but we would definitely help out somebody that needed help from any issues that the river caused.”

This morning counselor Ann Bishop narrowly missed the closing of the bridge. One of her concerns is alternate route bridges being closed, making travel even more difficult. To check out updated roadblocks and bridge closings, go to idrivearkansas.com.

“I drove in nearly a foot of water when I was near the bridge on my way to school. They must have closed the bridge about ten minutes after that,” Bishop said. “They say the water will rise even higher than it did in the 1990 flood. We’ll have to see what happens after the thunderstorms next week.”

As the water rises, the reservoirs are filling to their capacity which causes disturbances in the ecosystems. Bishop’s husband was on his way home when he encountered a surprising obstacle.

“Last night my husband sent me a picture of an alligator on the side of the road, and these guys tried to move it off the road to be closer to the water,” Bishop said. “I’m really sad for the wildlife that is trying to move to higher ground, the farmers who have lost farmland and people that have had to evacuate.”

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