This narrow point on the Mississippi River near Memphis, TN features
three lovely crossings: The Frisco Bridge (1892), the Harahan Bridge (1916),
and the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge (1949).
The Harahan Bridge is a cantilevered through truss bridge constructed by the
Arkansas & Memphis Railway Bridge & Terminal Company under
the supervision of famed consulting engineer Ralph Modjeski. Its total length
of 4,973 feet includes an asymmetric collection of cantilevered, suspended,
semi-suspended, and deck truss spans - the longest of which is the western-most
span of 791 feet. It was originally named the Rock Island Bridge, but was subsequently
renamed for Memphis businessman J.T. Harahan, who was president of the firm that
built the bridge and who was killed in a 1912 train wreck.
A distinctive feature of some early-20th-century Mississippi river crossings
is the addition of two single-lane motor vehicle roadways along the sides of
the bridge. The wooden-planked roads were apparently a terrifying travel
experience and they were prone to fires started by sparks from passing locomotives.
The Harahan was the primary vehicular bridge in this area until the neighboring
Memphis-Arkansas bridge opened in 1949. As of this writing in 2011, there are
plans to recover the roadway as a recreational pedestrian trail.
In contrast to the largely rebuilt Eastern roadway approach, the remnants of the
Western roadway approach are fairly readily accessible (albeit overgrown) from
exit #1 down Dacus Lake Road (the local road signs call it Eddie Garey Road).
I had noticed the remnants of the abandoned roadways numerous times when
passing through Memphis on I-55, but had never had the time to explore