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VOL. 131 | NO. 141 | Friday, July 15, 2016

Big River Crossing View Debuts Online Until October

By Bill Dries

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The view from the Big River Crossing that debuted online Thursday, July 14, shows just how wide the Mississippi River is at Memphis.

The Big River Crossing’s website includes a video of the view from the center of the Big River Crossing, the boardwalk on the north side of the Harahan Bridge. The website also includes information on the park and greenways on the West Memphis side of the Mississippi River connected to the boardwalk.


The 360-degree view offered on the website www.bigrivercrossing.com is the only view available to the public from the boardwalk on the northern side of the Harahan Bridge until the crossing opens Oct. 22.

The website went online Thursday along with new branding from Doug Carpenter Associates for Big River Crossing, as well as Big River Trail and Delta Regional River Park on the West Memphis, Ark., side of the crossing.

The website includes details of the history of the Harahan, which turns 100 years old this week and is still an active rail bridge owned by Union Pacific Railroad.

A ribbon-cutting with dignitaries from both sides of the river is scheduled for the morning of Oct. 22, with the crossing open to the public at 1 p.m. that day, and a lighting of the bridge and fireworks at dusk.

After opening day, the crossing will be open to the public from dawn until 10 p.m.

The boardwalk is a mile long and is the longest public pedestrian bridge across the Mississippi River.

The $17.5 million project is part of a larger 10-mile corridor linking an improved Main Street Memphis with Broadway – the main street of the city of West Memphis.

Both cities secured a $15 million federal transportation grant for work on the entire 10-mile corridor. Private donors and foundations led by Charles McVean contributed funding specifically for Big River Crossing.

McVean also led talks with Union Pacific and city and state leaders in Memphis and West Memphis that were an early breakthrough in the project.

Union Pacific insisted on specific security measures for the boardwalk.

The boardwalk is built where a “wagon way” once was. It was steel framing on the side of the bridge super structure with a surface on top for cars. Once the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge opened in the late 1940s specifically for auto traffic, the wagon ways on the Harahan were abandoned but remained owned by the local governments.

The Big River effort also included negotiations with levee boards in eastern Arkansas to open access to levee tops as trails covering a total of 73 miles.

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