Renovations for Saline County’s Old River Bridge ahead of schedule

BENTON, Ark.- A bridge in-built 1889 for solely $5000 is now a one-million-dollar renovation undertaking that will likely be accomplished ahead of schedule in the Spring of 2025.

The bridge is a logo of Saline County’s previous, however a crown jewel in its future.

“This is such a historical site for the original settlers of Saline County this bridge signifies so much, a way to get from one place to another, but a way to also connect communities,” Saline County Judge Matt Brumley mentioned.

One of the oldest bridges in Arkansas to return to original location

The Old River Bridge was in-built 1889, making it 135 years previous and the oldest Arkansas bridge in its unique location.

The bridge was constructed alongside the Old Missouri Trail, now generally known as the Southwest Trail. The path spans 65 miles between Hot Spring National Park and Little Rock, with Saline County being 27.3 miles of it.

“The Southwest Trail, which begins at Central High School in Little Rock travels all the way through Saline County and ends at Bathhouse Row in Hot Spring,” Brumley mentioned.

It acts as a stopping level to fish the river, get pleasure from a picnic, hike, bike and even benefit from the downtown areas.

The renovation undertaking started again in 2018.

“We had originally started this project back in 2018 which involved the deconstruction of the existing structure that was up over the river,” Vice President of Mobley Contractors, Brad Deaver, mentioned.

Saline County holds groundbreaking for Old River Bridge

After the teardown, the bridge was shipped to Michigan in 2021 and stayed there for refurbishing, with Deaver touring with it each step of the best way.

The bridge arrived again in Saline County in 2022 and has awaited its shifting date. That date is coming quickly because the groundbreaking and development start.

In February, they started slicing overgrown grass and underbrush that blocked entry to the river.

“March 11, we had probably 300 people here that came to watch a groundbreaking, and it just shows the excitement of this area,” Brumley mentioned.

According to Brumley and Deaver, a couple of month later, you may see the progress.

“We got about halfway completed across the Saline River, so we work from down in the river for the substructure up to the pier supports, and then eventually we’ll get the historic bridge done,” Deaver mentioned.

According to Deaver, the Old River Bridge will cross the Saline River virtually 400 toes, stretching from one facet to the opposite.

Deaver mentioned the development course of is completed with meticulous arms.

“You’re really careful with everything you touch, you don’t want to damage anything, and now we’re fixing to put them back together, it’s really exciting,” Deaver mentioned.

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Many hope this will likely be one thing folks can get pleasure from for a few years to return.

“Just being able to pour into a project that is so worthy today but going to be worthy for generations and generations to come is something to get excited about,” Brumley mentioned.

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