America's crumbling bridges don't need any help along their inexorable decline, and strict weight limits are part of what keeps things standing. Case in point: this video of an old suspension bridge in Arkansas bending to its limit when the driver of an overweight coach bus ignores the warning signs.
The Arkansas Department of Transportation is in the process of examining Beaver Bridge following the dangerous crossing that was caught on camera by astonished eyewitnesses. Built in 1949, the steel and wood structure lofts Arkansas Highway 187 over the White River in the hilly Ozarks region. It's the last suspension bridge still carrying car traffic in the state, a rustic-looking, one-lane span with a timber deck that's on the National Register of Historic Places.
If its 10-ton weight limit suggests it's not designed to handle a whole lot more than a loaded pickup, the way it moves under the stress of what the Arkansas Department of Transportation describes as a 70,000 pound bus drives that home with heart-stopping clarity. The video shows the three-axle coach bend the span in an undulating wave as it crosses, an distressing sight that has onlooker honking their horns in dismay. It's a nerve-wracking minute to behold even with the knowledge that the bridge doesn't collapse.
No word on whether any passengers were along for this unplanned thrill ride. Impressively, the Arkansas DoT posted on Twitter that a preliminary inspection showed no lasting damage. Beaver Bridge also happened to be on the docket for some regular maintenance this week, so crews will be able to give it a deeper examination as the days go on.
But so far, it looks like the "Little Golden Gate Bridge of Arkansas" seems to have held up just fine despite doing its best impression of a bridge simulator game. We might still try to find another path, though.