Online Exhibits

Bridging the Gap

Types of Bridges

Arch Bridge over White RiverAn ARCH BRIDGE has one or more arches as the main support and abutments at either end. It is one of the oldest types of bridges.

Arch bridge, Highway 16, White River, Fayetteville (Washington County), 1940s. Marion E. Brown Collection (S-95-161-15)







Pratt Truss Bridge over Illinois RiverA TRUSS BRIDGE is made up of beams connected together and placed on abutments and piers.

Pratt through-truss bridge, Illinois River, Siloam Springs (Benton County), 1940s.
Bob Besom Collection (S-82-170-21)







Girder Bridge over Osage CreekA GIRDER BRIDGE has long horizontal beams placed on abutments and piers. The roadway deck is built on top of the girders.

Girder bridge, Highway 68, Osage Creek (Carroll County), 1950s-1960s.
Carroll County Heritage Center Collection







Suspension Bridge over White RiverIn a SUSPENSION BRIDGE, the roadway hangs from cables suspended from the main cables which are held up by towers. The cables are anchored on either end of the bridge.

Suspension bridge, White River, Beaver (Carroll County), November 6, 1994. Northwest Arkansas Times Collection
(NWAT 11-6-1994)




The choice of bridge is determined by many factors including length of span, available materials, cost, geographical terrain, geology, available work force, and weight needs. Truss bridges are made up of small pieces that are easily transported and put into place. They are economical to build because they make efficient use of materials. Suspension bridges make long spans possible. They can be as simple as ropes and wood planks hanging over a creek or as elaborate as a concrete and steel cable structure spanning a wide river. Concrete girder bridges are the most common bridges built today in Northwest Arkansas.

Bridge vs. Trestle

Types of Truss Bridges

Photo Gallery


Bridging the Gap Home

Online Exhibits Home

Photo of the MonthArtifact of the Month