Conway’s City Council recently approved funding for the Springfield-Des Arc bridge, which is due to be relocated to Beaverfork Lake.
Thanks to efforts by the Faulkner County Historical Society and UCA history professor Ken Barnes (a FCHS member), Conway received a $300,000 Metroplan 80-20 grant for the project in May.
At its August 9 City Council meeting, Conway voted to work together on the restoration/move with the Federal Highway Administration, Arkansas Historic Preservation Officer, and the Arkansas State Highway & Transportation Department. The Council approved a total of $89,000 for the project, a $29,000 increase above the original 20% estimated project cost of $60,000.
Originally built in July, 1874 by the King Bridge Manufactory and Iron Works of Iola, Kansas, the significantly deteriorated bridge is listed on the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas’ 2015 list of Arkansas’ Most Endangered Places as the second-oldest example of an iron bowstring truss bridge and the oldest bridge in Arkansas.
Once restored, the bridge not only will be over water again but will be lighted so it can be enjoyed by hikers and walkers in its new rural, natural setting, not unlike its original location.