Society Receives Grants for Bridge Signage

The Faulkner County Historical Society has been awarded two grants for the interpretive signage for the restored Springfield Bridge which will be placed at Beaverfork Park. A grant in the amount of $1,958 for the project, “Historical Interpretations of the Springfield Bridge,” is supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In addition, the Conway Community Foundation, an affiliate of Arkansas Community Foundation, has granted $408 for the project.

In 2011, Workin’ Bridges of Grinnell, Iowa, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic iron bridges, began discussion with local officials about the rescue of the Springfield Bridge, a 142-year-old iron bridge of the bowstring arch design. The bridge’s original location was at the border of Faulkner and Conway counties, across the Cadron Creek. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. However, since then it had suffered from neglect and vandalism, and was decommissioned by the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department in 1991. Eventually plans were made to relocate the bridge to Beaverfork Park and restore it to its original condition.

In November the City of Conway and Faulkner County began their project of removing the bridge. Under the direction of Workin’ Bridges, two cranes lifted the bridge to the nearby ground. There iron workers disassembled it so that it could be transported by truck to North Little Rock for media blasting.’

Sometime soon, the bridge sections will be trucked to Beaverfork Park where technicians can do repair and reassembly. New caissons have already been built at the park. Stone from the original abutments will be incorporated into the approaches, and a new railing will be added for the protection of pedestrians and bikers. Finally, a crane will lift the bridge to its new spot above a cove of Lake Beaverfork.