Hale Creek Bridge
The Hale Creek Bridge is located in rural Sevier County, roughly equidistant between De Queen (Sevier County) and Dierks (Howard County). The nearest community is Red Wing (Sevier County). A single Pratt pony truss, the bridge spans Hale Creek on County Road 271, which is also numbered as County Road 47 on some maps. Constructed in 1919, the bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 26, 2004.
Created on October 17, 1828, Sevier County grew slowly over the next several decades. A lack of quality roads hampered the development of the county. By the early twentieth century, efforts by local citizens and the county government began to pay off, as a network of roads had been established throughout the county.
The Hale Creek Bridge was installed in 1919 on what was then a county road. The installation of the bridge led to an increase in traffic on the road as access to the county seat of De Queen from the county. By 1936, the road was incorporated into the U.S. Highway System and became part of U.S. Highway 70. The road that approached the bridge on either side was graveled. The road and bridge remained part of the highway until 1952, when an updated highway was constructed to the south.
It is unknown what companies constructed and installed the bridge, although several companies sold similar structures around the time of its construction. The Pratt pony truss was a popular design, as it could be purchased as a single unit from the manufacturer and installed in a short time.
The bridge is sixty-two feet long, including the approaches, and the single trusses are thirty feet long. The bridge is eighteen feet wide, and the deck was constructed of steel and later covered in gravel. With a single truss on either side of the bridge, the two are joined to the deck below the surface of the road. The approach abutments are constructed from concrete. Metal guardrails have been installed along both edges of the bridge.
The bridge continues to be used regularly. The isolated location of the bridge, coupled with the fact that the road on which it is installed comes to a dead end shortly after traffic crosses it, has kept usage low in the twenty-first century.
For additional information:
“Hale Creek Bridge.” National Register of Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/SV0088.nr.pdf (accessed April 21, 2020).
“Historic Bridges of Arkansas.” National Park Service. https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/NRHP/64500021_text (accessed April 21, 2020).
Henderson State University
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