Memphis and Arkansas Bridge (Interstate 55 Bridge, CT0108)

Status: Preserved

Location: Interstate 55: West Memphis, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee

Built: 1949

Architectural Style: Continuous truss, Warren truss with verticals, and through truss bridge

Original Function/Purpose: Transportation

The Memphis and Arkansas Bridge was placed on the National Register on Feb. 16, 2001.

History: This bridge joined two other nearby bridges in 1949. The first bridge to span the Mississippi River at Memphis was the Frisco Bridge, built in the late 1880s and early ‘90s as a railroad bridge. The second was the 1916 Harahan Bridge, built for both vehicles and a railroad. The Harahan proved inadequate to post-WW II needs, and the new bridge was constructed as soon as construction materials became available after the war, financed as an interstate Federal-aid project. To quote the NR nomination, “After World War II most bridge designers increasingly turned to concrete or steel deck girder bridges; however, the firm of Modjeski and Masters chose to use a Warren through truss design for [this bridge], a popular bridge type in the mid nineteenth and early twentieth century. . . . Existing conditions such as the width of the [river] overflow on the Arkansas side and locations and height of the existing railroad bridge piers determined the length, underclearance, and pier locations of the bridge. The main bridge piers were lined up with those of the existing railroad bridges, and underclearances of equal or greater height were provided under the spans. . . . Because the Memphis and Arkansas Bridge is a through truss, it carries its [four-lane] traffic load level with the bottom chords and traffic actually passes through the framework of the bridge.” The bridge has a total structural length of 5,222 feet.

 

City Council District: 6

Super District: 8

County Commission District: 8

DON NEWMAN