70th anniversary of the Memphis-Arkansas Memorial Bridge and the Big River Crossing
This December marks the 65th anniversary of the Memphis-Arkansas Memorial Bridge, known to locals as the “Old Bridge” since the building of the nearby Hernando de Soto Bridge (known as the “New Bridge”). The bridge was the third structure (the second for automobiles) linking Arkansas and Tennessee. The bridge cost $10.5 million to building, not including the price of building and widening the accesses. Recent estimates show that nearly 50,000 vehicles access the bridge each day.
Now adjacent to the historic bridge, visitors can see amazing views of the bridge and the Mighty Mississippi below from the Big River Crossing.
The Big River Crossing now connects West Memphis, Ark., to downtown Memphis. A major focus of the Big River Crossing is the “big river” itself, which visitors view from the nearly one-mile walkway built alongside the historic Harahan Bridge, one of the river’s former roadways. Opened in 1916, the Harahan Bridge connected West Memphis and Memphis and was used for over 30 years. The structure features two railways and two roadways built off the side of the main bridge structure. The bridge was used for vehicle traffic until 1949, when the nearby Memphis-Arkansas Memorial Bridge was opened seven decades ago.
The Big River Crossing has the distinction of not only being the longest public pedestrian bridge across the “Father of Waters,” it is also the country’s longest active rail/bicycle/pedestrian bridge. The unparalleled views of the mighty Mississippi from the walkway are unlike most that visitors have seen before.