5 votes

Clarendon Bridge


Overview of south side

Photo taken Aug. 2001 and provided by the Arkansas Highway & Transportation Department

BH Photo #100713


Street Views 


Lost Cantilevered through truss bridge over White River on US 79 in Clarendon
Clarendon, Monroe County, Arkansas
Demolished November 19, 2019
Built 1931 by the Austin Bridge Co.
- Austin Bridge Co. of Dallas, Texas/Atlanta, Georgia
- Ira G. Hedrick of West Salem, Illinois
- Virginia Bridge & Iron Co. of Roanoke, Virginia [also known as Virginia Bridge Co.]
- Williamson & Williamson Bridge Construction
Cantilevered Warren through truss
Length of largest span: 399.8 ft.
Total length: 4,282.0 ft. (0.8 mi.)
Deck width: 23.9 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 15.6 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on November 1, 1984
Approximate latitude, longitude
+34.68879, -91.31621   (decimal degrees)
34°41'20" N, 91°18'58" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/654236/3839821 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2014)
Inventory numbers
AHTD 01253 (Arkansas Highway and Transportation Dept. bridge number)
NRHP 84000190 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
AHTD 1253 (Arkansas Highway and Transportation Dept. bridge number)
BH 10461 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of April 2014)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 11 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • May 17, 2020: New photos from Brad Smith
  • November 21, 2019: New photos from Ben Tate
  • November 19, 2019: Updated by Nathan Holth: Demolished.
  • July 26, 2019: Updated by David Backlin: Scheduled for demolition
  • November 17, 2016: Updated by Nathan Holth: Updated status.
  • September 15, 2016: Updated by Christopher Finigan: Added categories "Pin-connected", "Riveted"
  • August 12, 2010: New Street View added by Jason Smith
  • January 18, 2005: Posted AHTD photos



Clarendon Bridge
Posted November 20, 2019, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Yeah... That's pretty messed up to say the least!

This decision doesn't bode well for the Newport Bridge.

Clarendon Bridge
Posted November 20, 2019, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)


This piece from the above article makes no sense, why would you want to blow the bridge up if you loved it:

"It's there one second and gone the next," explained life long Clarendon resident Alison Steeland.

She won a raffle to be the person to detonate the explosives taking down the bridge. "They counted down, and I did it," she said.

But this wasn't an easy decision for Steeland. “They said it should be somebody from here who loved the bridge, “she said.

She was one of many people from Clarendon who fought to keep the White River Bridge standing.

Clarendon Bridge
Posted November 20, 2019, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I don't need to watch the video with the political twist. I get enough politics in my everyday life without encountering them on bridgehunter.

Clarendon Bridge
Posted November 19, 2019, by Jason Smith (flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com)
Clarendon Bridge
Posted November 19, 2019, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)
Clarendon Bridge
Posted July 26, 2019, by David Backlin (us71 [at] cox [dot] net)

Bridge is scheduled for demolition in August of 2019

Clarendon Bridge
Posted June 19, 2018, by David Backlin (us71 [at] cox [dot] net)

There is now a Facebook page dedicated to saving this bridge: https://www.facebook.com/Bigwhiteriverbridge/

According to the latest update, the group was given an additional 45 days on May 24th to save the bridge.

Clarendon Bridge
Posted March 5, 2018, by David Backlin (us71 [at] cox [dot] net)


Judge gives 90 days to save Clarendon Bridge

Clarendon Bridge
Posted November 18, 2016, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Hi Nathan. I have been following the progress of the Springfield Bridge through Workin' Bridges. That was a last minute save if I have ever seen one. I am amazed that it was able to lean that long.

I certainly didn't mean to single out Arkansas. There have been some great success stories there. When I have driven through the state, I have tended to visit the doomed bridges while I can. I have done the same with Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Oklahoma, etc.

As you say, it is hard for a small town to save a bridge. I think that whoever can come up with a free market solution will find success. I think that Workin' Bridges is really into something, and I have enjoyed working with them. I wish I could be in Springfield to see the progress in person.

Clarendon Bridge
Posted November 18, 2016, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Robert... As a bridge historian I found it interesting to see a cantilever designed by Ira Hedrick. I've previously only seen works by him when he was with the firm Waddell and Hedrick (which only lasted a few years). The bridge has a unique expansion detail at the lower chord interface with the suspended span.

The Springfield Bridge being saved helps balance the loss of this and some other substantial bridges. The city of Conway and Faulkner County truly show the best in bridge preservation by choosing to not only save this bridge but to have the work completed using in-kind restoration by Workin' Bridges and Bach Steel, recognizing the specialty nature of this work.

In contrast, my brief tour of bridges in Arkansas shows the exact opposite is true of the state agency, AHTD. The fate of the Clarendon Bridge reminds me of the Donora Webster Bridge in Pennsylvania. The bridge was bypassed by a new bridge which totally bypasses Clarendon. Clarendon is not a large or wealthy town and likely cannot afford to take ownership of the historic bridge for pedestrians. AHTD apparently won't preserve it for them. This "pay to play" approach to historic bridge preservation clearly is unfair to communities like Clarendon. They deserve to keep their historic bridge.

The Pruitt Bridge in NW Arkansas is equally ridiculous. It is located on what is likely one of the most scenic roads in the entire state. It is located next to a park and series of hiking trails. Yet AHTD refuses to leave this totally unique bridge standing for pedestrian use next to its replacement.

In the interest of fairness I should comment that the Cotter Bridge, the largest Marsh Arch in the country, is beautifully preserved.

Clarendon Bridge
Posted November 17, 2016, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Nathan, at least you were able to document it. This is an incredible bridge - especially with the approach spans.

Arkansas is losing some good bridges right now. The Pocahontas Bridge was a nice triple span. When I drove across it last October, I did not realize that it would be gone so soon.

Clarendon Bridge
Posted November 17, 2016, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

New bridge (ugly slab of concrete) is open to traffic. The historic bridge as of now remains in existence with no demolition work begun. There are Type 3 Barricades, Concrete Barrier, and No Trespassing Signs installed at entrance to historic bridge. However, no cyclone fencing or any other physical barriers to pedestrian access are present at this time however. So its pretty easy to ignore the signs and access the bridge for photos...

Clarendon Bridge
Posted January 21, 2015, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Glad you found the information useful. This bridge must have impressed a lot of travelers after its completion.

Clarendon Bridge
Posted January 21, 2015, by Margie Chambers Irbe (Margieirbe [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Thanks for this site! My father (born in 1910) worked on this bridge and I believe that he was supervising a crew for the AR highway department. When he finished the 8th grade near Edgemont, AR he went to work. A few years ago, I found an arithmetic book that had notes made by Mother, that were dated/marked where to start. He was studying the section on calculation of angles.

It has been on my "bucket list" for quite some time to visit all the bridges that he worked on. Your site will be quite helpful in my efforts to document this for my family for future generations. Other bridges include the towns of: Davenport, IA; Hannibal, MO; Paducha, KY and the last one between Port Arthur and Beaumont, TX where he fell in 1938 and likely broke his back.

Thanks again for this site and for all those who took the time to comment.

Clarendon Bridge
Posted October 22, 2014, by Robert Elder

I drove over this bridge early this morning. Put this one on your bucket list before it is gone. The approaches are just as awesome as the main span. The overflow bridge is a treat as well.

Clarendon Bridge
Posted July 14, 2014, by Anonymous

Perfect. Looks like it will still be around when I am in the area. I think that a side trip is in order.

Clarendon Bridge
Posted July 14, 2014, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

Interview and info on the preservation efforts:


Clarendon Bridge
Posted July 9, 2014, by Anonymous

Are there any Arkansas folks on here? I am trying to find the approximate closure and demolition dates for this bridge, but the Google Machine fails me.

I will be driving through the area in October, and I was wondering if the bridge would still be open to traffic - making the journey off of I-40 worthwhile.

Clarendon Bridge
Posted April 17, 2014, by Phyllis Bishop Taylor (phyllis [dot] taylor45 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Please allow the town of Clarendon, Arkansas to keep their bridge as a monument, and as a historical marker of times past. We should not destroy our history. It seems that the inconvenience of the piers should not determine the destiny of them. My grandfather instructed the builders about how to set the piers as they had so much difficulty and lost their crew, several of them were killed, during the trial and error of setting the piers. Their lives are forever gone for their having so diligently tried to set the piers. Is it possible to allow the county, state, and federal government to figure out how to promote the saving of the bridge for five year increments, to determine if it is feasible. It is my opinion that a legal document could be given to the county and state to operate the bridge as a walking and hiking trail for five years after the new one is opened. With proof that it is being kept up and being used, and extend its existence by five year periods into the future. It does not make sense to destroy such a great bridge that so many people love. Thank you for reading this comment. Phyllis Ann Bishop Taylor.

Clarendon Bridge
Posted January 10, 2014, by Ervin Hoffmeister III (ervinhoff3 [at] suddenlink [dot] net)

1/07/14 it is sad to say the town is not able to take possession of the bridge. On the completion of the new bridge the state will demolish the old bridge and the entire old segment over the slew bottoms . They stated they will completely remove the old road bed and all of the bridge and return it to its natural look before the bridge was constructed. Sadly it looks like there will soon be no trace this bridge ever existed ! I will sadly miss the old bridge ! I hope her last sister bridge A Newport AR will be saved by the city of Newport. They are currently looking into taking ownership of that bridge and restoring it and turning it into A historic walking trail and over look!

Clarendon Bridge
Posted August 31, 2013, by Kat Robinson (kat [at] tiedyetravels [dot] com)

Historic mapworks:


Construction photos are on page 15 of this edition of Arkansas Highways Magazine, which also has an interesting article about bridge construction:


Clarendon Bridge
Posted August 31, 2013, by Kat Robinson (kat [at] tiedyetravels [dot] com)

Sadly, according to this plan, there's a budget for bridge removal. Whether it's just for the three miles to the west or for the entire bridge, it doesn't say.


History of the bridge here... http://www.arkansashighways.com/historic_bridge/HAER%20Docum...

Clarendon Bridge
Posted March 28, 2011, by Anonymous

This bridge is incredible, I really really hope they dont destroy it like the beautiful bridge down there in Lake Village. Clarendon is pretty much a mess though, depopulated and crappy unfortunately so i dont have much hope for the bridge.

Clarendon Bridge
Posted August 20, 2010, by D. W. Adams (weetbixmarmite [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I've seen the plans for the new bridge. Other than that it's going to be massive, it doesn't impress me in the least. It's just a hell of a lot of concrete. Big damn deal. The plans that I've seen don't call for removal of the current bridge, but do call for the connection of the current highway to the new highway on both ends.

But this bridge is my favorite of all that I've ever visited or plan to visit in the future. I love it so much that I put it on my MasterCard! Locals find the current bridge to be narrow and scary. At 23'11", I find it to be sufficiently wide, and I wasn't at all scared to walk it (with a yellow HV vest, of course). One thing I really love about it apart from its stark beauty is the gentle bounce felt at midspan when a heavy truck crosses.

I have about four whole rolls of pictures I've taken of this bridge, but they're all still in negative on the film and I haven't gotten around to scanning them into my computer and correcting them yet. I need to get on that as soon as I can find the time.

Clarendon Bridge
Posted August 12, 2010, by Lance Hopper (lancehopper01 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I think the big Iron Bridge in Clarendon Ar. is the prettys bridge that I ever seen also the twin bridge in Newport AR.is the prettys bridge I hope that they will keep the Iron big bridge in Clarendon Ar. when they open the new river bridge there building it is history.

Clarendon Bridge
Posted August 12, 2010, by Lance Hopper (lancehopper01 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I think the Clarendon Iron Bridge is the Prettys briges and Newport Bridge is like the one in Clarendon Ar.

I hope they will keep the Iron bridge when they open the new river bridge it is a pretty history bridge.

Clarendon Bridge
Posted January 9, 2010, by D. W. Adams (weetbixmarmite [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I visited this bridge as part of a tour of historic bridges in eastern Arkansas the first of this month. I saw five other historic bridges that day, and two others with a relatively short history, and I voted the Clarendon Bridge the most beautiful of them all. Maybe it was growing up not far from Caruthersville and Cairo, but something about a cantilevered Warren through-truss has always charmed me. The next time I'm in Arkansas, I want to see its near-twin at Newport.

Clarendon Bridge
Posted March 24, 2009, by Fred Garcia (fandsgarcia [at] gmail [dot] com)

Visited this bridge on 23 Mar '09. Construction is very similar to the Newport Bridge over the White River. A barge loading facility is below the bridge on the east bank. AR Fish & Game river access (boat ramp) is 1/4 mile upstream. Highway 79 traffic seems light on this two lane bridge and I was able to stop in the middle of bridge and get out to photograph the nearby RR bridge. The west approach is long and gradual spanning swampy terrain. The attached photos show the massive bulked-up gussett plates on the upper eyebar link and of the pier support joint. The silver painted bridge is arced so visibilty from either approach is limited until reaching the middle. Clarendon is the Monroe County seat and the lovely courthouse with its tall clock tower can be seen from the bridge.

Webmaster's note: The photos that were here have been incorporated into the main site.

Clarendon Bridge
Posted March 9, 2007, by Donald L. Putman (dputman [at] netzero [dot] com)

The first time I crossed this bridge, was in the early fall of 1975. My Mother was in training in Pine Bluff, for the Arkansas Employment Security Division. Since this was business. My dad took me and my brother Leslie sightseeing. He took us to Marvel, AR, to meet a lady, who he boarded with. Dad knew I was fascinated by bridges. He said we are going to cross a great big bridge in Clarendon, over the White River. When we crossed it then, the steel frame was yellow. Later they I suppose repainted it back silver. Anyhow it's the same bridge. Most of all it's a landmark.