Texarkana, Ark., names overpass after former Mayor Londell Williams

Published: Nov. 13, 2023 at 6:44 PM CST
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TEXARKANA, Ark. (KSLA) - Around 15,000 vehicles per day cross the U.S. Highway 71 viaduct in Texarkana, Ark.

This bridge is the main connector for the northern and southern parts of the city. For years, the viaduct has had no name. But now that’s changing.

The structure has now officially been named the Rev. Londell Williams Overpass. He served in city and county government roles for 37 years and was the first African American mayor of Texarkana, Ark. Williams died in 2017 at the age of 81.

“You know, it is only fitting that the overpass be named after Rev. Londell Williams. He was very instrumental in changing Texarkana, Arkansas,” said Allen Brown, the city’s current mayor.

Mayor Brown said Williams left a great legacy to the city. “He was really instrumental in he changed the way that our board is elected by dividing the city up in wards and giving representation to different parts of the city.”

The push to name the bridge in the Rev. Williams’ honor was started in December 2022 by a group of his supporters.

VIDEO: Group wants bridge renamed in honor of the late Mayor Londell Williams

“You have to give honor where honor is due,” said Bertha Dunn, co-chair of the Londell Williams Overpass project.

Dunn said this name change should be an inspiration for the younger generation.

“Maybe it would be an incentive for them to know you can be whatever you want to be and if you do things positive, you can be what you want to be and nobody is holding them back but themselves,” Dunn said.

The Rev. Williams also was the leader in getting Texarkana, Ark., its own ZIP code, which brought added revenue to the city.

“This will be a reminder that this was a Black man that accomplished these things in Texarkana, Arkansas,” said Dunn.

The name change was approved by the Arkansas Department of Transportation at the request of the city’s board of directors.