The new Arkansas 59 bridge over Lee Creek in Natural Dam will be dedicated at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 26.
Hosted by the Arkansas Department of Transportation, the ceremony will be at the Assembly of God Church at the end of the bridge, according to Crawford County Judge Dennis Gilstrap.
A new steel beam bridge replacing the old truss bridge opened for traffic on Dec. 4.
As part of a $6,475,000 DOT contract, Pace Construction Company LLC of St. Louis completed the new Lee Creek Bridge and two smaller bridges, one just north of Lee Creek Bridge and the other about a mile north, all on Arkansas 59.
The new Lee Creek Bridge is 602 feet and 2 inches long, said Jason Hughey, District 4 construction engineer with the DOT. Both of the smaller bridges were replaced with reinforced concrete box culverts, and there were accompanying road improvements, Hughey said.
“We also have two 12-foot lanes with 8-foot shoulders in these areas, which is an improvement of what was there previously,” Hughey said.
Dismantlement of the 82-year-old historic bridge was part of the contract between the DOT and Pace which was awarded in August 2016.
The old bridge was scheduled to be dismantled and reassembled as a centerpiece at Chaffee Crossing.
Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority reversed its decision to take the bridge and turn it into a walkway in the Chaffee Crossing historic district, Hughey said.
Since the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority changed its mind about the bridge, the DOT advertised the bridge again to be donated, but there were no takers, he said.
“No one showed any interest in taking the bridge this second time, so if everything goes the way it is approved right now, it will just be demolished,” Hughey said.
The old Lee Creek bridge was designed by the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department and built by M.E. Gillioz Company of Monett, Mo., according to the state. The 587-foot-long bridge was completed in 1934.
It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990, and is one of three remaining Pennsylvania through-truss bridges in Arkansas.