The Mulberry River Bridge at Turner Bend.

Arkansas Department of Transportation Proposes Replacement of Historic Bridge on Scenic “Pig Trail”

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The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT), along with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), is proposing to replace the aging bridge on Highway 23 that spans the Mulberry River in Franklin County.

A Landmark on “The Pig Trail” Faces Replacement

The current bridge, constructed in 1935, is a historic Parker pony truss bridge, a rare sight with only a few remaining examples in the state. This multi-span bridge stretches 446 feet (136 meters) across the Mulberry River, with a main span of 112 feet (34 meters) and a deck width of 20 feet (6.1 meters). Recognized for its historical significance, the bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

"The Pig Trail" is a favorite artery serving outdoor enthusiasts.
“The Pig Trail” is a favorite artery serving outdoor enthusiasts.

Public Input Needed on Project

ARDOT is seeking public comment on the proposed replacement project. This additional comment period allows for a review of supplemental environmental documentation, including a draft Section 4(f) de minimis Evaluation that analyzes potential impacts to the Mulberry River and other environmental factors. An Environmental Assessment and Addendum were previously released for public review.

The public comment period runs from Wednesday, May 15th to 4:30 pm on Monday, June 17th.

Public Comment Opportunities

  • Online: Review the project documents at their public notice site.

  • In Person: Documents are also available for review during normal business hours at the following ARDOT locations:

    • ARDOT Resident Engineer Office, 2702 West Main, Clarksville, AR 72830
    • ARDOT District 8 Headquarters, 372 Aspen Lane, Russellville, AR 72811
  • Written Comments: Submit written comments or exhibits via email to environmentalpimeetings@ardot.gov or by mail to: Environmental Division P.O. Box 2261 Little Rock, AR 72203-2261

See also  Arkansas State Parks Enters Agreement with AmeriCorps, Engage Arkansas, and Arkansas Parks and Recreation Foundation

Highway 23: A Gateway to Adventure

This project comes with considerations for the significance of Highway 23, also known as “The Pig Trail.” This scenic route winds through the heart of the Ozark Mountains, serving as a vital artery for outdoor enthusiasts. Hikers, campers, and mountain bikers rely on Highway 23 to access the cascading waterfalls of Buffalo National River and the breathtaking vistas of Ozark National Forest. You can learn more about the area’s history in our story on Turner Bend from 2011.

The USFS is a cooperating agency on the project, and comments provided to ARDOT will be considered under Forest Service policy.

Arkansas Cycling & Fitness.

Stay Informed and Engaged

The Arkansas Department of Transportation encourages all interested citizens to participate in this important project. By reviewing the project documents and submitting comments, the public can help ensure a well-informed decision is made.

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