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Cabin Rental Owner Builds 94-Foot Suspension Bridge in Arkansas

A flood prompts the building of the longest privately owned suspension bridge in Arkansas.

Mon September 14, 2015 - Southeast Edition

MARSHALL, Ark. (AP) Rod Corley had a problem.

Though he had fallen in love with the hills and woods surrounding his cabins in Searcy County, when Rush Creek flooded he was cut off from the world, the Harrison Daily Times reported.

Corley owns Aux Arc Wilderness Cabin Rentals, located on Zack Road a few miles from Marshall. The creek running alongside his cabins only added to the rustic and remote setting.

However, there was no bridge leading from the road to his property. The only way to cross the creek was in a high-clearance, four wheel drive vehicle, and that was during low water levels.

Corley went on to say that, five times this year, the creek had risen to levels that made crossing impossible. He had no way of getting out.

Something had to be done.

“A bridge was mandatory,’’ Corley said.

Corley built a bridge. It was not just any bridge, however.

As far as Corley can determine, his is the longest privately owned suspension bridge in Arkansas.

He could have built any bridge, Corley went on to say. A regular bridge like the ones you see on the highway could have been built fairly easily and economically. He found, though, that for a few thousand dollars more, he could have something special.

Corley hired the engineer who built bridges for the Nature Conservancy. Working together, they came up with a plan.

“The engineering was already done,’’ Corley said. “I just had to lift it and apply it to our project.’’

Corley used many used materials for his bridge. For example, the beams came from a scrap pile. Corley rescued them and sandblasted them. The huge rocks lining the banks were given to him by a farmer.

“Everything just came together at the right place at the right time,’’ Corley said.

The footings for the bridge were driven 13 feet into bedrock.

Construction of the bridge took about seven months, due to several weather interruptions.

The 94-foot span was opened in early July. Since then, it has served its primary purpose, allowing the crossing of Rush Creek, but Corley has found that it is now kind of an attraction. People have heard about the bridge, he said, and he has gained some business from people curious to see it for themselves.

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