8 votes

Cotter Bridge


Side view

Photo taken May 2005 by Keith Stephens

BH Photo #100051

Street Views 


The Cotter Bridge is the only bridge in Arkansas known to be designed and engineered by the Marsh Engineering Company, a significant twentieth-century bridge-building company. Among the largest they ever designed, it is also an excellent example of the company's patented Marsh Rainbow Arch. A unique feature of the bridge is that it was constructed by means of a cableway, suspended across the river, over which all materials were transported to various parts of the structure. The Cotter Bridge was instrumental in making accessible a new region of the Ozarks, an important recreational area in the United States. It became Arkansas' first National Civil Engineering Landmark in 1986.

-- Historic American Engineering Record


Six-span rainbow arch bridge over White River on US 62B at Cotter
Cotter, Baxter County, Arkansas, and Marion County, Arkansas
Open to two-lane traffic
Built 1930 by the Marsh Engineering Co. and Bateman Contracting Co.; rehabilitated 2003-04
- Bateman Contracting Co. of Nashville, Tennessee
- Marsh Engineering Co. of Des Moines, Iowa
From west to east:
Nine deck girder approach spans, total length approx. 471 ft.
Five Marsh through arch spans, length of each 216 feet
Three deck girder approach spans, total length 141 feet
One Marsh pony arch over railroad tracks, length 132 feet
One deck girder approach span, length 26 feet
Length of largest span: 216.0 ft.
Total length: 1,804.6 ft.
Deck width: 23.9 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 25.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on April 4, 1990
Also called
R.M. Ruthven Bridge (official name)
Approximate latitude, longitude
+36.26723, -92.54405   (decimal degrees)
36°16'02" N, 92°32'39" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/540954/4013685 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2014)
Inventory numbers
AHTD 00702 (Arkansas Highway and Transportation Dept. bridge number)
NRHP 90000518 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
AHTD 702 (Arkansas Highway and Transportation Dept. bridge number)
BH 10207 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of November 2018)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 51.3 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • February 15, 2022: New photos from Bambi Sharkoman
  • December 5, 2021: New photos from Geoff Hubbs
  • November 30, 2020: New photos from Nick Schmiedeler
  • June 25, 2019: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
  • May 9, 2018: New Street View added by Leslie R Trick
  • May 5, 2018: New photo from Leslie Sessums
  • January 26, 2015: HAER photos posted by Dave King
  • November 8, 2013: New photos from Shane Passmore
  • August 19, 2011: New photo from Lisa Hyde
  • September 12, 2008: Updated by David Backlin
  • June 1, 2005: Posted new photos from Keith Stephens

Related Bridges 



Cotter Bridge
Posted October 25, 2015, by David Backlin (us71 [at] cox [dot] net)

Mr Hardy, if you are willing to share, I'd love to see some of your father's photos.

Cotter Bridge
Posted October 25, 2015, by Brian Lee Hardy (none)

My father's company, Hardy Construction Co., rebuilt this bridge in the in the mid 2000's. My father, Robert A. Hardy, was the low bidder on this job a few times, but the Arkansas highway department, never wanted to award the job, because of the cost. I think the state thought is was going to be a better investment to demolish it, rather than repair it the proper way.

He had a contentious relationship over the decades with the highway department and he felt he was the only bridge contractor in the state of Arkansas that could do the job and do it right. He told me that the highway department wanted to pay, "Some cheap, jack-legged, *#$! %#@&!*, to do the job."

My father had a file full of photographs he took of this bridge during the rebuilding process. I think he felt it was the crowning achievement of a construction career in Arkansas that lasted over fifty years.

Cotter Bridge
Posted September 3, 2012, by Lisa Hyde

Thank you for the kind words, Gentlemen! It helps having something so beautiful to take a picture of!

Cotter Bridge
Posted August 22, 2011, by David Backlin (us71 [at] cox [dot] net)

That would be the Cotter Railroad Bridge


Cotter Bridge
Posted August 21, 2011, by Robert Thompson

Amazing bridge!

In the Streetview, I see there is a railroad swing bridge just north of this bridge; the swing span indicates that the White River was navigable at one point. This view points up one of the problems with trying to maintain navigation on a shallow river with a shifting channel - the swing span is currently located over a mid-channel island!

Cotter Bridge
Posted August 20, 2011, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Indeed it is Mr. Vance! I have been impressed with many of Lisa's photos.

I think even Conde B. McCullough would have been impressed with this beautiful span!

Cotter Bridge
Posted August 20, 2011, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

The latest picture (#20) is beautiful.

Cotter Bridge
Posted August 18, 2009, by Wes Kinsler (wkinsler [at] wkinsler [dot] com)

Blueprints for this bridge are online at http://www.arkansashighways.com/historic_bridge/State%20High...

Cotter Bridge
Posted March 3, 2007, by Fred Garcia (fandsgarcia [at] gmail [dot] com)

Visited this bridge at 4:40 pm on 2 March 2007. Good photos can be taken from both downstream sides. The west bank has a dead end road that loops under the bridge and past several residences. The east bank has a large parking area with boat ramps, pavilion and picnic sites. Good overall pictures from a distance can also be taken at the overlook on Hwy 62. An old gutted restaurant-like building sits right at the west abuttment. The railroad bridge can be photographed best from the overlook and from the east bank park. Bridge looks to be fairly clean & tidy.

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

Cotter Bridge
Posted September 19, 2005, by David Backlin


Shows some photos of the bridge under construction.