7 votes

Memphis & Arkansas Bridge



Photos provided by the Arkansas Highway & Transportation Department

BH Photo #108914

Street View 


Cantilevered through truss bridge over the Mississippi River on I-55 at Memphis
Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, and Crittenden County, Arkansas
Open to four lanes of traffic
Construction began 1945, opened to traffic December 19, 1949 ; Refurbished 1984
- Harris Structural Steel Co. of South Plainfield, New Jersey (Contractor)
- Merritt-Chapman & Scott Corporation of New York, New York (Contractor)
- Modjeski & Masters of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania (Engineer)
- Virginia Bridge Co. of Roanoke, Virginia (Contractor)
Main Span: Five-span continuous Warren Through truss with polygonal top chords
Approach Spans: Two Warren Through vertical trusses, also two Warren through deck trusses
Arkansas Viaduct Approach: 19 girder spans
Length of largest span: 789.8 ft.
Total length: 5,220.7 ft. (1.0 mi.)
Deck width: 51.8 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 17.3 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Memphis-Arkansas Bridge
Memphis-Arkansas Memorial Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+35.12751, -90.07567   (decimal degrees)
35°07'39" N, 90°04'32" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/766474/3891098 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Northwest Memphis
Inventory numbers
NRHP 01000139 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 32699 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • February 9, 2022: New photos from Bambi Sharkoman
  • March 29, 2017: Updated by Nathan Holth: Added contractors as listed in TN historic bridge report.
  • July 12, 2010: New Street View added by Calvin Sneed
  • February 1, 2010: Updated by Calvin Sneed: Added two Warren through deck trusses on Arkansas side, along with the 2 vertical trusses
  • April 1, 2009: New photo from Channin Rosenthal
  • September 25, 2008: New photos from James Baughn
  • February 13, 2005: Posted new photos

Related Bridges 



Memphis & Arkansas Bridge
Posted June 2, 2021, by Brad Smith (gaberdine [at] hotmail [dot] com)

This bridge carried all of the metro Memphis traffic beginning in May of 2021 due to a broken support member of the Hernando Desoto Bridge (I-40).

Hopefully the repair to the newer HDB will be expedient.

Memphis & Arkansas Bridge
Posted October 16, 2015, by Tiarra M. (shortymac1213 [at] gmail [dot] com )

I saw a U.F.O near this bridge, in the late 80's, while driving from Michigan, to Arkansas! There were many cars present, has anyone else reported this ordeal???

Memphis & Arkansas Bridge
Posted September 30, 2015, by Ranchmama (cowgirl [at] dtisp [dot] com)

Wasn't there talk about closing this bridge to also build a new pedestrian/bike lane on one side? Has that idea been scrapped?

Memphis-Arkansas Bridge
Posted August 21, 2015, by Brad Smith (gaberdine [at] hotmail [dot] com)

The bridge will be closed for 6 month to a year in early 2017 to build an interchange to replace the street-grade intersection pretty much immediately east of the river in Memphis. Traffic will be rerouted across the Hernando DeSoto Bridge. At this point there is no significant work proposed for the bridge, only for the intersection to bring it up to freeway standards.


Memphis-Arkansas Bridge
Posted August 20, 2010, by Robert Scoggin (robert [dot] scoggin [at] arkansashighways [dot] com)

I would be hesitant to climb all over the bridge. The bridges on the Mississippi are monitored.

Memphis-Arkansas Bridge
Posted August 20, 2010, by D. W. Adams (weetbixmarmite [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I noticed those too, and several of them weren't locked. I didn't dare open any of them, though, as I didn't know who might be watching. As it was, a Memphis cop did stop by as I was walking back on the eastern side to ask if I was okay. He said they get jumpers. What really excited me was the fact that the beams are large enough one can climb inside them! I hadn't a harness with me at the time or I might've gone up and gotten some really interesting pictures of the framework and the roadway.

Memphis-Arkansas Bridge
Posted June 22, 2010, by melanie

This bridge has a pedestrian sidewalk along its western side. If you walk it for a few minutes you will see a covering that you can pull off, giving you access to a ladder leading down to the pylons holding up the bridge. You can walk the pylon (which is very wide and has safety rails) under the traffic to the eastern side of the bridge and get a great view of the river. A little scary to hear the traffic overhead, but still fun.

Memphis-Arkansas Bridge
Posted January 1, 2010, by Melanie (mckay1144 [at] comcast [dot] net)

I moved away from Memphis in 1983. I was wondering if there are still pygmy goats living under the bridge?

Memphis-Arkansas Bridge
Posted December 4, 2007, by crowleysridgegirl

The Hernando-DeSoto bridge shifted when supports were being driven around the pilings for retrofitting earthquake equipment.This ground is continually shifting due to the instability from the New Madrid Fault line.

Memphis-Arkansas Bridge
Posted September 20, 2007, by Ervin Hoffmeister (ervinhoff3 [at] suddenlink [dot] net)

This bridge may be old but it is sound!

The new Hernando DeSoo Memphis bridge carring Interstate 40 Trafic was just shut down for over nine hours on 8-27-07 because A pier on the Arkansas approach sank nearly 4 inches during construction.

I feel Newer is not Always better. They do not build bridges with pride like in the eaerly 1900's and thus they canot withstand any lane additions . You know as well contractors get bonues for coming under budget or faster buildg of the structure. So the job is just minimum. This bridge will still be standing probably 33 yaers from now if it is maintaned and will be nearly 100 years old.

Memphis-Arkansas Bridge
Posted August 5, 2007, by Boyd (Boyd [at] bigstring [dot] com)

This bridge is in need of replacing. It's old and very narrow especially for Interstate 55 Traffic. Its time to replace for a much newer bridge.

Memphis-Arkansas Bridge
Posted March 9, 2006, by joel adams (adamsjoel4 [at] aol [dot] com)

How long it took to build, this bridge?

How many lives were lost? While building this bridge?

How deep is the mississippi river?

How much it cost, to maintain the maintenance?