Visited this bridge a couple weeks ago. It is by leaps and bounds the most impressive colored LED lighting system I have ever seen (and I have seen several bridges with decorative LED lighting). The installation was clearly done professionally. The attention to detail is so complete that even the insides of built-up beams are illuminated, allowing the beautiful riveted lattice to be highlighted even at night. Also the lighting is arranged so that what you see from beside the bridge is totally different from what you will see walking on the bridge. It appears to have been a huge success from an investment perspective too, as I found this bridge to be packed with people on a Friday night.
Got to take a cruise on the Belle of Louisville last night. I was ready to take the full side shot of the Big Four, I did not realize how jumpy that boat is when its steaming down the river. So these were the two best I got.
The Big Four was lit up last night. Looked amazing. I think waterfront park hit this out of the park.
Big Four is getting a computerized light system soon. Can't wait to check it out and get some pictures of the bridge lit up.
Judging by the height of the people it looks like the bridge segments are between 60 and 70 feet tall. Does that sound about right?
Bridge should fully open this weekend
I had a strange dream that I was on the bridge last night.
According to wikipedia, the Louisville and Jeffersonville Bridge Co was formed in 1887 to build the bridge. Due to accidents in construction, they went bankrupt and sold it to the Big Four.
So, apparently, they were a consortium of local interests that wanted to construct and own a bridge. This is the only bridge they were associated with.
You have to be very careful when assessing old bridges. When they say that "Louisville and Jeffersonville Bridge Company" built the bridge they are not referring to a company that fabricates or constructs bridges. They are referring to a private company that was formed to finance, own, and operate the bridge. For clarity, these entities should be referred to as owners, not builders.
That builder built the original bridge in 1893.
According to this link, http://www.urbanohio.com/forum2/index.php?topic=24916.0, the builder of the bridge is the Louisville and Jeffersonville Bridge Company. If this info is correct and maybe someone would like to confirm this, then the L@J Bridge Co. would seem to be a local firm. This begs the question, what other bridges did they build and what happened to them?
I don't know a lot about Virginia Bridge and Iron, if they built big bridges like this? One company that was notorious for building monstrosities was McClintic Marshall Company, and I did find a plaque with similar bolt positions, but this alone in my opinion is not enough to establish builder.
Virginia Bridge and Iron then? While many are the four bolted plaques there are several over the years with just two in that fashion.
I am not saying American Bridge did not build this bridge. However, the photo of a plaque scar below is a plaque that would NOT have followed the standard American Bridge Company plaque for that period. So if they did build this bridge, they either used a non-standard plaque, or their plaque was located elsewhere on the bridge. Here is a plaque from 1930:
With the American Bridge Company being such a big builder in the Louisville area, building the K&I bridge and the 2nd street bridge. Is it plausible that this bridge is most likely the work of that firm?
Nathan, Sorry I did not have time to caption the photos yesterday, but that is the incomplete ramp on the Indiana side of the bridge. Currently you can walk to the edge of the bridge were there is a fence that keeps you from going any further.
The railings on the top chord mentioned below show up in 1975 HAER documentation, so they are not new or part of this current conversion for pedestrian use. They very likely are just railings for bridge inspections. Large bridges like this often have handrails on the top of the top chord so bridge inspectors can safely navigate the structure. As an interesting example elsewhere, the Quebec Bridge actually has an entire truss system framed around the top chord eyebars that provides a walkway for inspectors.
Could be that they're going to offer the same climbing trips that they offered on the Purple People/L & N Bridge between Newport and Cincinnati. I think they discontinued the trips, but they were big news for a brief time.
Are the handrails at the top of the truss for the "extreme" pedestrian? The guy that wants a better view and a little more challenge to his hike across the river?
I would be curious to see some description/explanation for photo 91 of 117. Is this an additional, incomplete approach for the bridge? Or can you not walk all the way across yet? I assume its closed because it does not have real railings. And is that a glass deck?
Looks great JP!
Will look forward to seeing more pics!!
Bridge opens on Thursday at 11am. I plan to be there, will be bringing back tons of photos!!!!
The soft opening of the Big Four Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge will be delayed until late January/early February due to a holdup in the fabrication of the railings for the bridge. The balance of the railings for the bridge will not be received until mid-January, and installation could take several weeks. As safety is of utmost importance, the bridge cannot be opened until all railings are installed.
When opened in late January/early February, the bridge will be complete with railings, lights, benches, signage, and the simulated rail bed down the middle.
The first time I saw this bridge would have been about 1972 when I was 4 years old. I remember being down by the first pier of the kentucky side with my family looking for driftwood for some kind of craft project. I fell in love with it then and have wanted to walk it ever since. Now I'm 44 and will soon finally be able to. :)
Bridge is set to open in a couple weeks. Final Cost of the rail to trail project is 22 million. Jeffersonville will have its ramp completed in the spring. But for now you will be able to walk across from Louisville to the end of the bridge.
I just found this photo of the bridge.
Bridge I believe from the Louisville Side is set to open in December. It also looks like skate boards and skates are not going to be allowed, so ladies & gentlemen leave them at home.
They laid the final concrete slab yesterday and the Big Fours public opening is expected for December, the Indiana approach ramp will be opened in the Spring bringing the project to a close. A success in bridge preservation I say.
First things I just read a report that A canal that is being installed into the City of Jeffersonville Will directly below the first Pier of the Big Four Bridge, Which means they will be tunneling through the foundation of the Big Four Bridge. The report says they will reenforce the foundation, but either way is this a dangerous thing to do with such a big truss on it.
2nd the the construction of the Indiana Ramp is suppose to start January.
Think I have covered this bridge the best I can from the ground, now the wait is on for the Indiana approach ramp. I really really want to get up there.
Looks like both sides are getting ready to move in to the next phase of this. With Indiana building a ramp and Louisville getting the repair work done. Early 2013 is the expected date for completion.
since this is a 2nd bridge should the first be given its own profile.
Neat pic JP......I have seen a picture of the old bridge from the side, but not this one.
so i realized that this was not the original bridge at this location. i did find a picture of the first bridge here. which looked liked it was pinned.
emailed the person who is the contact of the Indiana side of this project, and they expect to have the designs done by this fall, with construction (crosses fingers) starting spring of 2011. the bridge i believe is scheduled to be open spring of 2012. Can't wait to walk across this bridge.
just added pictures of the big four rehabilitation that is going on. Its amazing the work they have done in the last few months. Saddly indiana has yet to even start their side. Ahh Jeffersonville what are you doing.
I finally see working being done on the louisville side of the big four. You can actually see supports standing for the approach to the bridge. I found an article saying that the bridge should be opened by summer 2011. Indiana is still trying to decide how to do their approach, but it sounds like it will be coming over the flood wall. I'm looking foward to this bridge being reopened.
"Construction could be complete by late 2007. " 2009 and still no walkway. This thing has been "coming next year" since 1989. It'd be great if it ever gets done... but after a while you have to say "I'll believe it when I see it".
Can't wait to walk this....saw note though that this will be longest pedestrian bridge in the USA...doubtful...
there is one in Florida 2.6 miles long...and a number over a mile.
I heard newspaper about fire in truss bridge since May 8, 2008. They already put out of fire. It is still standing. It was not damagetruss bridge. Thank you.
The Big Four Bridge caught on fire today 05-07-08. They news says it will not hurt the construction that is ongoing for the walk-way. I hope it doesn't prolong its opening I want to see it done in this life time.
its official for the Big 4
Construction on Phase III began in late Spring 2005, which will add 13 acres (53,000 mē) and include the conversion of the former Big Four Railroad bridge into the longest pedestrian only bridge in the world. The bridge will connect to Jeffersonville Indiana's waterfront park. Several more lawn areas, tree groves, walking paths, and picnic areas will also be added. Construction could be complete by late 2007.
The "Big Four" bridge was the first thing that caught my eye during a recent visit to Louisville. I stood at the north end and marveled at how man can put such effort into building an engineering marvel only to abandon it just a few decades later.
I also vistited the "Falls of the Ohio" bridge and admired the remnants of the stone structures at the bridge entrance where now only one set of tracks now crosses.
Oh,how I would love to travel back in time to the heyday when the rails were alive!
This bridge is in the works to being apart of the Waterfront Park in Louisville. When the bridge is completed, it will be used as a walk over bridge over the Ohio River. A great example of a bridge being reused as such is the Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis.
There has also been a rumor that a private orginization would like to build apartments on the bridge, in such a way to allow for a "waterfront" view.