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John A. Weeks III
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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Beaver Bridge
AR-187 White River Highway Crossing
Beaver, AR

Beaver Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI #000000000002388
• Waterway: White River, Table Rock Reservoir
• River Elevation: 915 Feet
• Highway: AR-187
• Daily Traffic Count: 1,500
• Bridge Type: Steel Suspension Wood Deck
• Length: 554 Feet, 312 Foot Longest Span
• Width: 11 Feet
• Navigation Channel Width: Non-navigable
• Height Above Water: 16 Feet (Estimated)
• Date Built: 1949
The last remaining suspension bridge in Arkansas is this one-lane bridge over the White River at the small hamlet of Beaver, Arkansas. In this area, the river has just passed over the huge Beaver Dam, and is now flowing into the reservoir that backs up behind Table Rock Dam near Branson. Beaver is located east of Bentonville and Rogers, and just northwest of Eureka Springs in the heart of the Arkansas Ozarks.

Beaver Bridge
Beaver Bridge
This bridge is nicknamed the Little Golden Gate Bridge. The Arkansas state highway department calls the bridge intolerable to be left in place. They proposed rebuilding highway 187 in this area, complete with a modern bridge. The locals waged a 3 year campaign to save their historic suspension bridge. The bridge has a wooden deck and wooden guard rails. Only one car at a time can cross. There are stoplights on each end to control traffic. Even at 5 miles per hour, the bridge makes a rumbling noise as you cross.
Beaver Bridge
Beaver Bridge
The spring of 2008 has seen a record amount of rain through the central part of the US, and especially in Missouri and Arkansas. Water backed up behind Table Rock Dam bringing the lake to a record high level. Then Beaver Lake hit its flood level and the diversion gates had to be opened. All that water ended up in this section of the White River. The water level is approximately 20 feet above normal. Signs and the bridge stop lights are submerged. A large amount of debris has accumulated under and behind the bridge. The state says that the bridge is most likely damaged, and it may not be able to save the structure even after the water level goes back down. Note that these two photos were taken by my brother, Loren Weeks.
Beaver Bridge
Beaver Dam
This is the first major flood in this area since the very early 1980s. The reason is a series of major dams, such as the Beaver Dam located just up river, that serve to control floods. The photo above shows the dam from the summer of 2007, when the water level was well below the flood stage. The two photos below show the Beaver Dam on April 12, 2008, when the flood gates were opened to 9.5 feet. The flood gates have only been open 6 times before, only 3 times prior to 2008, and never open more than 5.5 feet. This happened after the lake rose 2 feet overnight and threatened to overtop the dam. At the peak, 1-million gallons of water per second went over the spillway, enough to fill 7,500 tanker trucks full of water each minute.

The photo directly below was taken by photographer Rob McFarlin. You can see more of Rob's amazing camera work at his website and the collections that he posts on Flickr. The bottom photo was taken by Loren Weeks.

Beaver Dam
Beaver Dam

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