Old Bridge Goes Unused

This old bridge was built back in the late 1800's, spanning the Little Red River to join two halves of a small town here in Arkansas. It is protected by the Historical Society, which provides some funding for its upkeep. The little town's budget barely covers painting the lines on the roads and filling potholes, so it turned to the county and state for help with the major work now needed before it can be reopened.

A few years ago, a grant paid for the redecking of the bridge, and it was opened for use, only to be shut down again when new standards of safety came out after the collapse of the huge highway bridge in Minneapolis. (Thanks Judy!)

Just downriver from the closed bridge is a train bridge, built around the same time. Both bridges rotate to allow passage of large ships that no longer travel the Little Red River.

A closeup of the turning mechanism illustrates the incredible ingenuity and strength of the bridge's engineering. Maintained by the railroad, this bridge has never been shut down.

The personality of this one-lane bridge was as startling as the solid feel under foot. That the bride is needed is an understatement for the little town it connects together, yet it is only open to foot traffic. The town's mayor has tried everything to get the county to do the necessary work to bring it up to the new safety standards and is now collecting signatures on a petition to the county, state and Historical Society as the last resort.

There is a unique beauty to this old bridge that has stood strongly against time. That it stands unused is an insult.


  1. Perhaps the bridge collapse you were thinking of is the one in Minneapolis?
    What a beautiful bridge this one is.

  2. Thanks, Judy!

    I love this bridge. Standing on it is like being in a time-travel thingamajig. I think I fell in love with it because it felt like standing on a past that is far more solid than the present.

  3. Looks a lot like one here in Saline County near the huge community of Tull (I think the bridge is still there, at least). That thing was scary to drive over due to the wooden planks on the deck and all. The bridge was stable enough, however.

    We used to go pattern our shotguns down the Saline River near that bridge. Good times.

  4. This one is in Judsonia, Hawg. It's a very small town, but with a lot of history.