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Arkansas Highway 51 facts for kids

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Highway 51 marker

Highway 51
Route information
Maintained by AHTD
Existed April 1, 1926–present
Section 1
Length 57.37 mi (92.33 km)
South end AR 53 near Whelen Springs
North end US 67 in Donaldson
Section 2
Length 7.92 mi (12.75 km)
South end US 270 in Rockport
North end US 270 in Magnet Cove
Counties: Clark, Hot Spring
Highway system
Arkansas Highway System
Interstates • US • State
Business • Spurs • Scenic
AR 50 AR 52

Highway 51 (AR 51, Ark. 51, and Hwy. 51) is a designation for two north–south state highways in Southwest Arkansas. One route of 53.37 miles (85.89 km) begins Highway 53 near Whelen Springs and runs north to US Highway 67 (US 67) in Donaldson. A second route of 7.92 miles (12.75 km) runs parallel to US 270 northwest of Malvern. Both routes are maintained by the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT).

A four-mile-long (6.4 km) historic section of Highway 51 remains in Clark County, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Route description

Both segments are low-traffic, two-lane, undivided roads winding through the Piney Woods of Southwest Arkansas. No segment of Highway 51 has been listed as part of the National Highway System, a network of roads important to the nation's economy, defense, and mobility.

The ArDOT maintains Highway 51 like all other parts of the state highway system. As a part of these responsibilities, the department tracks the volume of traffic using its roads in surveys using a metric called average annual daily traffic (AADT). ArDOT estimates the traffic level for a segment of roadway for any average day of the year in these surveys.

Whelen Springs to Donaldson

Highway 51 begins at Highway 53 in southern Clark County, just north of Whelen Springs and the Little Missouri River. The highway runs within the Arkansas Timberlands of Southwest Arkansas, a two-lane, undivided road except for a few miles within Arkadelphia.

Highway 51 and Highway 53 in Clark County, Arkansas
Highway 51 near Okolona

The route runs west through sparsely populated pine forest, curving northward after Sycamore and crossing McNeeley Creek twice. Highway 51 crosses the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and a former alignment near Beirne, a small mill town. North of Beirne, Highway 51 begins a wrong-way concurrency with US Highway 67 (US 67). Less than two miles from the Nevada County line, Highway 51 turns north from the concurrency. Highway 51 intersects Interstate 30 (I-30) at a diamond interchange, then continues north through Burtsell. The highway begins paralleling the Caddo Valley Railroad and South Fork Terre Noir Creek, before crossing both shortly after entering the city limits of Okolona. In Okolona, the route passes the historic Okolona Colored High School Gymnasium, listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) before an intersection with Highway 182. Highway 51 exits the town to the northeast, briefly overlapping Highway 53 to cross Terre Noir Creek near Holly Grove. Highway 51 turns east to Arkadelphia, passing the Terre Noire Natural Area, which contains blackland prairies and woodland complexes. Highway 51 serves as the eastern terminus of Highway 26 and passes the Bozeman House before entering the city limits.

Highway 7, 8, and 51 in Arkadelphia, AR
Highway 7, 8, and 51 reassurance markers in Arkadelphia

In Arkadelphia, Highway 51 becomes Hollywood Road and passes Magnolia Manor before an intersection with Highway 8. The two routes begin a concurrency running east, crossing I-30 at a diamond interchange. Highway 8/Highway 51 enter Arkadelphia as Pine Street, serving a mix of commercial and residential land uses before intersecting US 67 and Highway 7 (Tenth Street). The four highways overlap southbound as Tenth Street for two blocks, before turning onto Caddo Street and heading east toward downtown Arkadelphia, passing the historic Clark County Library. At an intersection with Sixth Street, US 67 turns south toward the Arkadelphia Commercial Historic District, and the three state highways continue east to cross the Ouachita River on the Ouachita River Bridge. Shortly after the bridge, Highway 7 and Highway 8 split south toward Griffithtown.

Highway 51 runs east to Joan, where it intersects Highway 128. The highway turns north, entering Hot Spring County. It passes through Brown Springs before serving as the western terminus of Highway 222 east of Donaldson. Highway 51 passes through the small town of Donaldson as Bryant Drive before an intersection with US 67, where it terminates.

Except for the areas around Arkadelphia, traffic counts in 2016 show much of Highway 51 is classified as a very low volume local road by American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), meaning fewer than 400 vehicles per day.


A second segment of Highway 51 begins at US 270 on the municipal boundary between Rockport and Malvern. It runs north through the small town of Rockport before turning westward toward Butterfield and Magnet Cove. West of Magnet Cove, the highway terminates at US 270. AADT for the highway was highest near Rockport, with 3,200 vehicles per day. Near the western terminus, the traffic counts dropped to 1,400.


Highway 51 was created during the 1926 Arkansas state highway numbering as a route between US 67 and Arkadelphia in Clark County.

Highway 7 and Highway 51 bridge in Arkadelphia, AR 001
Bridge that formerly carried Highway 51 over the Ouachita River

Near Berine, a former alignment now bears the Clark County Road 12 designation. Along the former alignment, the McNeely Creek Bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. To the east of Arkadelphia, Highway 51 formerly crossed the Ouachita River on a historic truss bridge. The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic in 2018 upon the opening of a new bridge.

Arkansas 51, Old, Curtis to Gum Springs
Old Arkansas 51, Curtis to Gum Springs.JPG
Historic section of Highway 51
Lua error in Module:Location_map at line 420: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
Area 9.5 acres (3.8 ha)
Built 1931 (1931)
Built by D.H. Dalton Co.
MPS Arkansas Highway History and Architecture MPS
NRHP reference No. 03001457
Added to NRHP January 21, 2004

Between Curtis and Gum Springs, a four-mile-long (6.4 km) stretch of concrete pavement built in 1931 remains intact. Part of the original Highway 51 alignment between Little Rock with Texarkana, the pavement was used until the present section of US 67 was built in 1965. The road section was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.

Major intersections

Mile markers reset at concurrencies.

County Location Mile Roads intersected Notes
Clark 0.00 0.00 AR 53 – Camden, Gurdon Southern terminus
US 67 – Gurdon, Prescott
2.42 3.89 I-30 – Little Rock, Texarkana
Okolona 10.24 16.48 AR 182 east – Gurdon Western terminus of AR 182
AR 53 – Gurdon Officially designated exception
24.24 39.01 AR 26 west – Murfreesboro Eastern terminus of AR 26
Arkadelphia 28.91 46.53 AR 8 west – Glenwood Begin AR 8 overlap
29.09 46.82 I-30 – Texarkana, Little Rock
31.31 50.39 US 67 north / AR 7 north (10th Street) – Malvern, Hot Springs Begin US 67/AR 7 overlap
0.00 0.00 US 67 south (6th Street) – Gurdon End US 67 overlap
Bridge over the Ouachita River
1.57 2.53 AR 7 south / AR 8 east – Fordyce End AR 7/AR 8 overlap
Joan 6.74 10.85 AR 128 west – Gravel Junction Eastern terminus of AR 128
Hot Spring 15.83 25.48 AR 222 east – Leola Western terminus of AR 222
Donaldson 17.35 27.92 AR 51Y (Bryant Drive) to US 67 – Malvern Eastern terminus of AR 51Y
17.88 28.78 US 67 – Malvern Northern terminus
Gap in route
RockportMalvern line 0.00 0.00 US 270 (Oliver Lancaster Boulevard) – Malvern, Jones Mill Southern terminus
Magnet Cove 7.92 12.75 US 270 – Hot Springs, Malvern Northern terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
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