A Day In The Life

Over the River
January 21, 2008, 10:18 pm
Filed under: Nature, Odds and Ends

One-half mile from my front door a bridge spans the river that winds through my country neighborhood.  I stopped on my way home from church Sunday morning and walked down to the water’s edge to get some shots with my fabulous new camera.  The water level of the river is about normal. 


I love this old bridge. Many people have lobbied to have it replaced with a modern concrete structure, but the bridge is a part of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program and, thus far, its historical significance has kept it intact. The AHHP describes the bridge as a “two-span, Pratt steel pony truss bridge built in the early 1900’s. The engineer who designed this particular bridge is unknown.”


Occasionally we have a lot of rain in this part of Arkansas and the water level of the river rises. And rises. And rises.  Needless to say, I can’t walk down underneath the bridge and take pictures when that happens.   


The voice of the river is an incredible roar when the water is this high. I can hear it from my front porch.   These pictures were taken in the early summer about five years ago.   

One summer in the early 90’s after several days of heavy rain, I drove down to check out the water level of the river.  A few moments after I arrived at the bridge my neighbors, Mrs. M. and her husband, pulled up behind me in their truck.   I will never forget this….Mr. and Mrs. M. were drinking cocktails and Mr. M. got out of the truck and stood with me.  He sat his drink on the hood of the truck and lit a cigarette.  In the time it took him to smoke one cigarette, the water inched up on both sides  and met to cover the end of the bridge.  


Another time, also during the early 90’s, my parents and I had gone out to eat on a rainy Sunday after church. We were sitting in the restaurant eating  our meal when we noticed water from a drainage ditch was inching up on the highway.  We quickly finished up and began the eleven mile journey south toward my parents’ house where I had left my car.  I left as soon as I got to Mom and Dad’s house and made my way toward the bridge.  Look at the picture above and imagine my car coming toward you over the bridge.  See where the iron side rails end?  I kid you not, the water was across the wooden portion of the bridge reaching up from the road  to just about  where those rails are.  And I drove through it.  In a Hyundai. 

In October of 1999, the river flooded so severely that the entire wooden portion of the bridge was under water.  Several large trees were lodged on the bridge and knocked out sections of the wooden planking.  There was also structural damage to the primary bridge supports.  The bridge was closed for an entire year. 


Driving across the bridge when the river is at flood stage is scary, but for some reason I am more nervous driving across it when it is covered with ice and snow.  I guess a new bridge would be much safer and more convenient, but I am attached to this old bridge.  It has managed to survive for a hundred years and has served its purpose well. 


6 Comments so far
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Those are beautiful shots of the bridge. I think the bridge would be a bit scary when the water is high.

Comment by Kaycie

What terrific pictures and a great trip through time. Bridges are funny. I am not fond of the super duper bridges, you know, the double decker, 8 lane commmuter bridges they have on the sides of our country. I am less nervous, though, on a West Coast bridge than on an East Coast bridge. I know that the Pacific is just as cold and wet as the Atlantic but I just fear falling into the Atlantic.

Phobias. Odd little things, they are.

Comment by Sandy

You have a stronger constitution than I. Never would I drive over it when it was nearly covered.. what if if broke loose — and you floated away with it. Who would take care of Jasper?

Comment by Pamela

ahh I love old bridges. Good pictures.

My sister can’t stand bridges. Old or new. So when I’m driving I usually stop in the middle and ask her to look at the water. When I was younger I woudn’t move until she looked over the edge L OL I also made her kiss the floor and tell me I was the queen.

Comment by Vicki

Did I tell you that I love your new camera? Well, I do! I knew there would be some great pictures to follow. I have a recurring nightmare of being caught on a throughway over a lake and having the water rise to the road. I’ve had it off an on for years. I sure hope it’s not a premonition! You are a much braver soul than me.

Comment by gawilli

what a great bridge and the pictures are great. I can see why you would be attached to it though, I hate when they go tearing things down that have been there along time and you remember them from childhood and stuff… I would be more nervous in the snow then the flooding as well!

Comment by hazed

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