By Phoebe Lusk-Hussong
The Big River Crossing is a walkway across the Mississippi River for pedestrians/cyclists and it has it’s grand opening this Saturday, October 22. Read more to learn about the bridge’s history, purpose, and upcoming opening.
The Harahan Bridge first opened to trains crossing the Mississippi River in July 1916 and this Saturday’s opening of Big River Crossing will allow pedestrians and cyclists to make their way across 100 years later.
The Big River Crossing hopes to link people from multiple backgrounds, as the bridge will connect Main Street in Memphis to West Memphis’ Main Street. At almost a mile in length, it will be the longest pedestrian/bike bridge across the Mississippi.
While the bridge was first proposed in 1975, Memphis was not granted the money to make the walkway until June 2012, so construction did not begin until 2014. Walking across the bridge offers stunning views of the river, but the walkway itself will also be a sight to see at night when it is fully illuminated with LED lights. The pedestrian path takes the place of lanes that cars once used to cross the Harahan Bridge. There is even a plan between the University of Memphis and the City of West Memphis to develop an eco-park near the end of the walkway. The bridge is very secure. Extra precautions have been taken to prevent the bridge from icing, and every point of the bridge can be seen by at least two cameras.
The grand opening begins at 1 PM on October 22. There will be live music and food trucks throughout the day, as well as a firework display at 7. Union Pacific Railroad, which owns the Harahan, will also have the newly repaired locomotive “Living Legend” No. 844 in town for the opening. The Big River Crossing not only offers a great outdoors experience, but it also has the ability to connect people through the beauty of the Mississippi.