People in Newton County, Ark., continue to try to save old Pruitt Bridge

PRUITT, Ark. -- Katherine Nance and her sister, Shirley Cooper, were raised near the Pruitt Bridge.

"My father helped build it. So the old bridge is very dear to our hearts," Nance said.

But the almost 90-year-old bridge is set to come down this fall.

"I wanted to cry. It means a lot to us. We had a lot of memories from it. I remember my dad would walk over the bridge all the time and we were swimming down there in the old swimming hole. If we saw him on the bridge we knew it was time to get out," Cooper said.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation is now building a new one right next to it over the Buffalo National River because the old one is too narrow.

"I really would like to see our elected officials and our governor look at this and help us solve this problem," Nance said.

One Newton County leader is doing everything in his power to try to keep this bridge from being destroyed, but he said not all county leaders are on board.

"The thing about it is none of the JPs but myself want to keep it," said Newton County Justice of the Peace Arlis Jones.

Jones wants the county to pass a stay of action to prevent ARDOT from destroying the bridge.

But he said the other justices of the peace keep tabling it. None of the other Newton County leaders we reached out to responded to our request for comment.

Meanwhile hundreds of people have signed petitions to save the bridge.

"The public now is getting confused to why they can't get something done when there's so many signatures going on the petition wanting it saved," Jones said.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation said municipalities had three chances over the past 16 years to buy the bridge and move it. But that would’ve cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it appears no one pursued the opportunity further.

But Jones and others in the community want to keep fighting for it.

"I have many, many petitions here signed by people of Newton County," Nance said. "Not only here, but they're signing them up in Eureka Springs, over at Fayetteville, all over northwest Arkansas. Couldn't the people have a choice in whether or not to tear it down? Let the people speak."

"Why would anyone want to tear down our history?" Jones said.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.