State Agency Delays Plans to Demolish White River Bridge

The longest pedestrian bridge in the country has gotten an assist from Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

📅   Tue June 23, 2015 - Southeast Edition
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The bridge opened to traffic in 1931 and allowed travelers to cross the White River without a ferry.
The bridge opened to traffic in 1931 and allowed travelers to cross the White River without a ferry.

CLARENDON, Ark. (AP) An effort to repurpose a bridge across the White River into the longest pedestrian bridge in the country has gotten an assist from Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

The state Highway and Transportation Department has delayed plans for six months to demolish the 83-year-old bridge at Clarendon on the U.S. 79 highway, after Hutchinson requested the deferral in April to allow a nonprofit group “a chance to secure funding for maintenance and preservation of this historic bridge,’’ the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

Members of the Friends of the Historic White River Bridge are working on a plan to develop the bridge and surrounding area as a destination to hike, bike, watch birds and conduct water-trail tours. The group is hoping to raise $4 million to help save the old bridge.

Bicycling groups are organizing rides to Clarendon from both Little Rock and Memphis in early August to draw attention to the bridge’s potential as a tourist spot.

The bridge opened to traffic in 1931 and allowed travelers to cross the White River without a ferry. A new bridge, under construction since 2010, is being built south of the old bridge and work on it is set to finish later this year.

The Walkway Over in the Hudson State Historic Park in New York is the longest elevated pedestrian bridge, according to the park’s Web site.