6 votes

Arkansas River Bridge


Vintage photo provided by Gene McCluney


BH Photo #129883

Street View 


(14)146 ft arches (2) 212 ft arches


Written by Gene McCluney

This bridge, called the Million Dollar Bridge for its construction cost, represented a big step forward for Fort Smith, Arkansas in opening up trade west. Prior to its construction, the Helen Gould Railroad bridge did double duty as a vehicular (wagon) bridge since it was planked, but there was a toll. There was also the "E" street wagon bridge across the Poteau river into LeFlore county, Oklahoma. This bridge was (like all other bridges along the navigable channel of the Arkansas) a victim of design which would not allow for the barge traffic envisioned with the Kerr-McClellan Arkansas river navigation project, and was replaced in the late 1960's. If my dim memory serves me, One-half of the replacement was built alongside, and then the old bridge was demolished, then the other half of the new bridge was constructed and the two halves were joined to make one bridge. The new bridge had the clearance to allow for barge traffic. At the same time the Helen Gould Railroad bridge was removed, and not replaced. All Railroad traffic into Fort Smith then was routed over the Frisco railroad bridge from Van Buren to Fort Smith.


Lost Open-spandrel arch bridge over Arkansas River on US 64 in Fort Smith, replaced due do the Kerr-McClellan Arkansas River navigation project.
Fort Smith, Sebastian County, Arkansas, and Sequoyah County, Oklahoma
Replaced by new bridge
Before this bridge was constructed, the only vehicular path to Oklahoma from Fort Smith was either the Helen Gould Railroad Bridge, or the E street bridge across the Poteau, or a Ferry.
- Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Co. of Leavenworth, Kansas
Open-spandrel arch
Length of largest span: 212.0 ft.
Total length: 3,173.0 ft. (0.6 mi.)
Deck width: 41.0 ft.
Also called
Albert Pike Free Bridge
Million Dollar Bridge
Garrison Avenue Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+35.39227, -94.43248   (decimal degrees)
35°23'32" N, 94°25'57" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/369905/3917487 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Fort Smith
Inventory number
BH 38334 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • January 1, 2017: New photo from David Backlin
  • May 7, 2016: New photo from David Backlin
  • January 15, 2011: Updated by David Backlin: Added builder
  • August 12, 2010: New Street View added by Jason Smith
  • February 14, 2010: Updated by David Backlin: Added GPS Coordinates
  • March 8, 2009: New photo from Gene McCluney
  • March 7, 2009: Essay added by Gene McCluney
  • December 28, 2008: Updated by David Backlin: Added USGS info
  • December 7, 2008: Added by Gene McCluney


  • Gene McCluney - gmacfilm [at] live [dot] com
  • David Backlin - us71 [at] cox [dot] net
  • Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com


Arkansas River Bridge
Posted January 15, 2011, by David Backlin (us71 [at] cox [dot] net)

Details on the building of this bridge: