Junction Bridge

JunctionBridge_bConstructed originally in 1884 by the Choctaw and Memphis Railroad, and operated by the Union Pacific Railroad, the Junction Bridge carried trains across the Arkansas River until 1984 when its active railroad use ended.

The Junction Bridge Project will adapt the Junction Railroad Bridge for pedestrian and bicycle use, linking both sides of the Arkansas River. As an integral part of the Six Bridges Plan and riverfront development in both cities, it will parallel the Rock Island Railroad Bridge being developed as a pedestrian way by the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library Foundation.

Ownership of the Junction Bridge transferred to the City of Little Rock as a part of its transaction with the Union Pacific Railroad to acquire railroad right of way in the River Market area. In 2001, the Cities of Little Rock, North Little Rock and Pulaski County requested grant funds from the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department / Federal Department of Transportation to adapt the Junction Railroad Bridge from railroad use to pedestrian and bicycle use.

In 2002, the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department approved grant funds to the three governmental entities totaling approximately $1 million for use in constructing improvements to the bridge. The Cities of Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Pulaski County have committed an additional $200,000. McClelland Engineering conducted the engineering studies required for the AHTD application and funding. The engineering assignment included a structural analysis and an underwater inspection of the bridge. The AHTD grant also became the stimulus for an extensive planning process involving citizens from both sides of the Arkansas River.

Awards!

  • The Junction Bridge Pedestrian Conversion Project was awarded the 08 Best Transportation Project
  • The Junction Bridge Pedestrian Conversion Project was awarded the 08 Merit for Public Design

Big Dam Bridge

Big Dam BridgeAt 4226 feet the Big Dam Bridge is the longest pedestrian/bicycle bridge in the world! Visitors can enjoy the concrete deck and eight observations areas while taking in the breathtaking view of the Arkansas River and surrounding countryside.

It took eight years from conception to completion to build “The Big Dam Bridge”. There have been many who wondered about that name. How did it get that name? Was it just a marketing ploy or a statement of the obvious, a big bridge on a dam. It was a little of both and more. The first two or three years were tough, pulling together several federal, state and local agencies. There was some resistance. The design was complex. The costs were great. There came a time when everyone involved was ready to quit.

I walked into one of those meetings where the frustrations were running high with the tone and attitude of giving up. My response was simple, “we are going to build that dam bridge”. There was a pause and then laughter as people realized that I said “dam” instead of “damn”. But it served its purpose. That became an expression of resolve as we moved forward.

When we were preparing for the opening, I took the planning group, Denver Peacock and Jordan Johnson, up on the bridge. I think the comment was, “wow, this is big”. To which I responded, “yes, it’s a big dam bridge”. They recognized the marketing value for the opening and beyond.

Thus, we have “THE BIG DAM BRIDGE.”