Axios Northwest Arkansas

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😃 It's Wednesday and you just made it great for us.

🌧️ Chance of showers today with highs near 70.

Today's newsletter is 660 words — a 2.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Arkansas bridge conditions top U.S. average

Share of bridges in poor condition, 2023
Data: Federal Highway Administration; Map: Will Chase and Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Almost 95% of Arkansas' 12,808 bridges are in good or fair condition.

Why it matters: America's bridge infrastructure — long seen as dysfunctional — has been steadily improving for the last 20 years, Axios' Will Chase reports.

  • The number of bridges rated poor — or an equivalent metric — by the federal government's bridge inventory has fallen from 15% in 2000 to 6.8% in 2023.

Driving the news: The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) recently launched a transportation performance dashboard, a quick-reference tool for bridge, interstate and highway conditions.

Zoom in: Sixteen bridges in Benton County and 31 in Washington County are in poor condition, according to ArDOT's interactive map.

  • Carroll (3), Madison (23), Crawford (19) and Sebastian (20) counties, which make up the broader NWA region, rank above Washington County overall.
  • Statewide, 697 bridges are ranked as poor.

Data: National Bridge Inventory; Map: Will Chase/Axios

How it works: A bridge being in poor condition does not mean it is at risk of imminent collapse. The National Bridge Inventory has three grades below poor that indicate structural issues may require bridge closures.

  • Few bridges are rated in "serious" or "critical" condition. Spans that reach those levels are typically fixed or closed.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

The bottom line: The bipartisan infrastructure law, signed in 2021, sets aside $40 billion to further repair and rebuild the nation's bridges.

  • That investment, however, will take years to go from ink to concrete.

Read the full story

Sponsored event listings

Stay booked and busy

📅 Upcoming events around NWA:

Big Paws Block Party at Big Paws of the Ozarks on May 17: Enjoy craft beer, cocktails and food truck cuisine for a good cause. There'll also be music, party games and a silent auction. Adoptable dogs will be on hand, too.

Hosting an event? Email [email protected].

2. What we're sipping: Cocktails at a record bar

Under My Umbrella. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

👋 Alex here. Hidden on the second floor of the historic 1907 building in downtown Rogers is a swanky bar called Pinky Swear. Look for the brass door.

The vibe: It's a "hi-fi record bar," meaning they "exclusively play vinyl records on a kick-ass stereo" with dim lighting and pricey-but-worth-it drinks. Pretty sexy.

  • It's the bar for Heirloom 1907, a high-end, tasting-menu restaurant you basically have to reserve a month in advance. But you don't need to dine at Heirloom 1907 to have a drink at Pinky Swear.

What to try: The Under My Umbrella ($16) is the libation to get ahead of summertime with vodka, lemongrass, malted strawberry, lime and matcha. The strawberry flavor shines through.

Zoom out: Pinky Swear also has a limited food menu — a few pizzas, baby-back ribs and a chicken teriyaki bowl, plus a couple of mocktails.

Stop by: 5-10pm Wednesday and Thursday; 5pm to midnight Friday and Saturday; 101 E. Walnut St. in Rogers.

3. Kitchen Sink: A cut above

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

🏗️ An Indiana developer submitted plans for a seven-story, 61,000-square-foot building in Fayetteville, on the southwest corner of Dickson Street and Block Avenue. (Fayetteville Flyer)

💰 Northwest Technical Institute could lose millions in federal funding if construction of its planned 30,000-square-foot health building isn't complete by September 2026. The building is still in the design phase. (KNWA-TV)

🚨 A Eureka Springs police officer was found to have acted justly in using deadly force that killed a man there last month. (KFSM-TV)

4. 1 fun thing: Finish the sentence …

"Bob's Burgers." Photo: FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

👋 Here's a new game we'll play with readers occasionally.

  • We'll start a sentence and ask for your personal take on how to finish it.

On those days when I've been up to my ass in alligators and email, with way too many meetings that lasted too long — punctuated by crises, missteps, typos, bad hair, bad food and a general sense of malaise — I …

  • Worth: … zone out for 20 minutes watching cartoons — usually "Bob's Burgers."
  • Alex: … get out of the house, usually grabbing drinks or food with friends.

📬 Let us know what you do and we'll give you a shout-out. Just hit reply.

Thanks to Fadel Allassan for editing and James Gilzow for copy editing this newsletter.

🥗 Alex wants to know where to find the best salads in town. Just hit reply.

👻 Worth is listening to "The House of Last Resort" by Christopher Golden (no relation to Alex) and can't say he'd recommend it.