The historic Riverside Bridge is on its way to a new home.
Construction crews working on what has become known as the Ozark Mill project removed the bridge structure from its spot on the Finley River in halves, and took the second half of the bridge on Jan. 30. The bridge will be relocated south to a spot south of the McCracken Road bridge near Finley River Park, where it will be used as part of Bass Pro Shops’ Finley Farms development.
In August 2018, Megan Morris announced that Bass Pro Shops made plans with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that the bridge would be moved in a manner that complies with federal regulations.
“We’re going to be relocating this bridge back to its home here on the property to serve as a trail connection,” Morris said at a press conference announcing the Finley Farms project. “We’re really excited to be able to preserve another piece of this town’s history with the bridge.”
Originally built in 1909, the Riverside Bridge was located next to the Ozark Mill. Craftsmen later determined the bridge wasn’t wide enough to properly serve the location and it was moved approximately a mile and a half to the north, where it took Riverside Road across the Finley River.
The bridge has been closed since July 2015, when it was deemed unusable after flood waters and debris damaged the structure. When federal and state transportation officials called to destroy the bridge, Ozark resident Kris Dyer and some other Ozark residents teamed up and fought back through a nonprofit initiative, Save the Riverside Bridge.
Bass Pro Shops project managers selected a relocation site near the mill—where the famous “Chadwick Flyer” railroad once crossed the Finley. It will be installed following a review with the Corps of Engineers. An exact completion date has not been announced.
Bass Pro’s vision for the Ozark Mill property calls for a variety of amenities, including historical tours, dining, event space and riverfront access.