Constructed 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.
- 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