February 16, 2017
Many would say that the relationship between the Mississippi River and the Bluff City is obvious, but some may not realize the obstacle that the river would be without the amazing bridges that extend from Memphis, Tennessee to West-Memphis, Arkansas. Below are facts about each of the four bridges that cross the Big Muddy.
Memphis & Arkansas Bridge (left)
- Opened 1949
- 5,222 ft long
- 52 ft wide
- US Highways 55, 61, 64, 70 and 79 cross the Mississippi River via the Memphis-West Memphis Arkansas Bridge.
- The 2003 daily traffic record of 40,000 vehicles is 5,000 more than the Hernando De Soto bridge 2003 daily traffic record of about 35,000.
Frisco Bridge (middle)
- Opened 1892
- 4,887 ft long
- 30 ft wide
- Upon opening, the Frisco Bridge was the only bridge crossing the Mississippi River south of St. Louis.
- Due to specifications to maximize river navigation, the bridge featured the longest span (791 ft) in the United States when it was build. Span is the distance between bridge supports.
Harahan Bridge (right)
- Opened 1917
- 4,973 ft long
- Features Big River Crossing, opened October 22, 2016 as the longest public pedestrian/bike bridge across the Mississippi River tying together paths connecting Main Streets in Memphis, TN and West Memphis, AR.
- Construction on began on the bridge being built under the name Rock Island Bridge, but before construction was complete, Rock Island Railroad president J.T. Harahan died in an automobile crash with a train. In memory of the late president, the bridge name was changed from Rock Island Bridge to Harahan Bridge.
Hernando De Soto Bridge (photo below)
- Opened 1973
- 9,432 ft long
- 90 ft wide
- The “M Bridge” is deemed by the Guiness Book of World Records to be the largest free standing letter of the alphabet in the world.
- The bridge was lit ten years later on September 5, 1983, after private funds were raised to install the lights.
- Feature photo: Google Maps