Memphis & Arkansas Bridge

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Memphis & Arkansas Bridge
Memphis, Harahan, and Hernando de Soto Bridges.jpg
Memphis & Arkansas Bridge, left
Frisco Bridge, center
Harahan Bridge, right
Official name Memphis & Arkansas Bridge
Carries I-55.svgUS 61.svgUS 64.svgUS 70.svgUS 79.svg 4 lanes of I-55/US 61/US 64/US 70/US 79
Crosses Mississippi River
Locale West Memphis, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee
ID number 79I00550101
Design Cantilevered through Truss bridge
Total length 5,222 feet (1,592 m)
Width 52 feet (16 m)
Longest span 770 feet (235 m)
Clearance below 112 feet (34 m)
Opened December 17, 1949
Daily traffic 48,000 (2008)
Coordinates
Memphis & Arkansas Bridge
Memphis & Arkansas Bridge is located in Tennessee
Memphis & Arkansas Bridge
Location Memphis, TN
Coordinates 35°7′39.02″N 90°4′32.42″W / 35.1275056°N 90.0756722°W / 35.1275056; -90.0756722Coordinates: 35°7′39.02″N 90°4′32.42″W / 35.1275056°N 90.0756722°W / 35.1275056; -90.0756722
Built 1949
Governing body Tennessee
NRHP Reference # 01000139
Added to NRHP February 16, 2001

The Memphis & Arkansas Bridge (per its nameplates), also known as the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge or Memphis-Arkansas Memorial Bridge, is a cantilevered through truss bridge[1] carrying Interstate 55 across the Mississippi River between West Memphis, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee. Memphians refer to this bridge as the "Old Bridge" to distinguish it from the "New Bridge", or Hernando de Soto Bridge, upstream.

The Memphis & Arkansas Bridge also carries U.S. Highways 61, 64, 70 and 79 from Memphis to West Memphis; it also carried U.S. Highway 63 prior to its truncation (and later rerouting) in Arkansas. The western terminus of Tennessee State Route 1 sits on the Tennessee-Arkansas boundary halfway across the bridge.

Having been built before the introduction of the Interstate Highway System, the span was not built to Interstate Highway standards, lacking the concrete barrier between the different directions of traffic which was added later. It was also built with a sidewalk on either side of the roadway, positioned just outside the steel truss girders. The sidewalks, now also separated from the traffic lanes by concrete barriers, are accessible from Memphis city sidewalks on the Tennessee side, but give way to grassy slopes on the shoulders of I-55 on the Arkansas side.

The sidewalk and bridge is listed as part of the Mississippi River Trail. However, travel is not recommended across the sidewalk and is prohibited on the vehicle traffic lanes of the bridge, being an Interstate highway crossing. On August 12, 2012, a cyclist was killed after being struck by a vehicle when using the shoulder approaching the bridge.[2] Within the next few years, a pedestrian/bicycle path on the neighboring Harahan Bridge will make crossing the river safer and will eliminate the need to use the I-55 bridge.[3]

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