The Old River Bridge in Benton is aptly named, since it is pretty old. The span over the Saline River was built in 1891, and it's one of the oldest bridges in the state. It was used until 1974, when the wooden platform was damaged by a big truck carrying concrete blocks. After that it was decommissioned, and has quietly sat unused for decades along a lonely stretch of river.
But there are plans to repair and renovate the bridge. The span will be a part of a proposed pedestrian and bicycle trail that will link the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site and Hot Springs National Park. The plans include taking the bridge down, then conducting extensive repairs and then replacing it back in its original spot. Right now the three counties along the proposed trail are trying to secure funding.
In 1996, the bridge was featured in the film Slingblade, where Billy Bob Thornton's character was seen standing on the bridge before a pivotal scene. Wait that movie came out in 1996, that's over 20 years ago!!!?! Now I'm feeling old.
On the way back home, I drove through Benton and stopped to get a few pictures of this old ghost sign that was promoting cigars. The building is right by the old courthouse.