We’re nearing fall and the 142-year-old Springfield-Des Arc bridge is still falling apart over Cadron Creek off Springfield Road north of Wooster on Faulkner County’s edge with Conway County.
The City of Conway has run into snags in its already-funded project to restore and move the bridge to Beaverfork Lake for walking/bicycling. Conway announced last week it learned it must seek bids on the project, which had already been contracted out to the Workin’ Bridges company of Grinnell, Iowa, a nonprofit group specializing in rare restorations of this type. The project, not yet off the ground, is now halted.
Conway had already approved $60,000 in matching funds for its part of the $300,000 grant for the project by the Metroplan Transportation Alternative Program through the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department. The grant comes via federal Department of Transportation funds, which caught Conway off guard with the accompanying requirement to take bids on the project.
The next just-discovered snag also comes from those federal funds: The Department of Transportation regulations prohibit nonprofits from bidding on DOT jobs, thus disqualifying Workin’ Bridges from the bid process.
The original plan had Workin’ Bridges starting their work last month, and the City of Conway is working with all the involved agencies to find a work-around to go forward with the project as previously approved and funded. But meanwhile the Springfield-Des Arc bridge still sits there, open to the elements and deteriorating more every day.
Read more about the bridge and its history here.