This week’s Pic of the Week series paying tribute to James Baughn takes us to Beaver, in Caroll County, Arkansas and the Golden Gate Bridge. Many of us think of the Golden Gate Bridge as the big red suspension bridge, the symbol of San Francisco and the largest masterpiece designed and built by Joseph Strauss that took five years to be built before opening in 1937. No one has considered the fact that there is a mini-version located in Arkansas, spanning the White River at Table Rock Reservoir.
This bridge was built in 1949 by the Pioneer Construction Company of Malvern, which was one of Arkansas’ largest bridge builder during that time. Thomas Behrends was a project manager for this bridge. He had already established a reputation for the area, having oversawn a dozen bridges during the time this bridge was built. The Beaver Bridge was named after the nearby town that was named after its founder, Wilson Ashbury Beaver (1851-1915), who bought 348 acres of land in the area to create a small community. The 600 foot long bridge is one of the longest in the area. The bridge gets the nickname Golden Gate because of the color of paint. Literally, the steel towers (all laden with riveted lattice connections), the decking and even the cables are painted in gold. Therefore it is not named after a strait as is the case with the more popular and beloved monument of San Francisco, which was the backdrop for Starfleet in the Star Trek films and TV series.
Though the little Golden Gate Bridge in Arkansas was a focus of an incident on October 18, 2018, where two busses crossed the bridge, causing the decking to sag. Had the bridge given out, there would have been a catastrophe of monstrous proportions not only because the bus drivers disobeyed the weight limit sign but also there were dozens of tourists on the two busses.
Unfortunately, there was no information on the operator of the bus firm yet it shows that education is needed in terms of maths and laws. The bridge has a weight limit of 10 tons. Weight limits mean no vehicle exceeding the limit are allowed to cross. And lastly, to make sure it never happens, GPS and other maps should be made to ensure that something like this never happens. In practice however, we still keep seeing ignorance and lack of education ruling the roads. And while the Beaver Bridge was spared with only minor damages, ignorance and stupidity will reveal its ugly face at a cost of another bridge in the near future.
And while you can’t fix stupidity, you can cure it with hard labor behind bars and a year’s worth of money (or two) taken away by the state. Perhaps that is what we need to put an end to this madness, not just with bridges but with other aspects on the road.
Remember: laws save lives. Math matters. And common sense is the god of mankind.