On Saturday I decided to head out and take a few pictures. I drove north from Little Rock, heading towards a swampy area that looked like it might be photogenic. But along the way, I stopped at the town of Judsonia.
Judsonia is a small town (population 1,982) that has a really interesting old bridge. The bridge was built in 1924, and crosses the Little Red River. I first saw the bridge while rushing through Judsonia many years ago - a friend I worked with was getting married there. I had severely misjudged the time needed to drive from Little Rock to Judsonia, so I arrived at the wedding very late. I tried to stealthily sneak into the back of the church near the end of the wedding, hoping that no one saw me.
After the wedding I went by and checked out the old bridge, and wanted to return there with a camera. I've been there a few times since then, but the most recent visit, according to my shots uploaded to Flickr, was way back in 2006. Besides the neat old bridge, there was an old water tower that was perfectly located by the bridge. It looked really cool in pictures. This was a shot from August 2006:
So I eagerly drove to the bridge, looking forward to getting a newer shot. But, sadly, it turns out that time has taken it's toll on the bridge. The cool old water tower, which was perfectly placed for pictures, is gone. And the old bridge is closed, with gates at each end. Apparently the bridge has been classified as "structurally deficient" after the Highway Department found a cracked crossbeam. Until the county finds $509,000 for repairs, the bridge is closed.
But luckily, not closed to people! I went through the gate and walked across the bridge. I took a few pictures in the hot 95 degree weather.
There is another old bridge, just upriver from here. It's older (built in 1912) and actually still in use by the Union Pacific Railroad. When I was out there, I heard the distant sound of a train whistle, and waited a few minutes for the train to cross the bridge.
And a view of the rail bridge from the old automobile bridge...
Since traffic has stopped using the bridge, it looks like nature is slowly trying to reclaim it. On both sides of the bridge, vines and plants were slowly trying to colonize the old steel.
But one good thing about the bridge being closed, is that you can now take a lot of pictures there without worrying about any traffic coming by. The bridge is only wide enough for one lane of cars, so if you were on the bridge when a car comes by, you'd have to escape to the other side quickly like one of the kids from Stand By Me.
And one last shot of the bridge:
I really hope that the money is found to at least preserve the bridge and keep it open. We've lost too many of the old bridges like this in Arkansas. They definitely don't make them like this anymore.