There’s one more thing to see in Little Rock, Arkansas before you leave, and it’s a pretty big dam deal. The Big Dam Bridge crosses the Arkansas River, about six miles from downtown Little Rock. It’s the longest pedestrian/bicycle bridge to be built specifically for that purpose in North America.
The Big Dam Bridge was finished in 2006, long after Murray Lock and Dam was constructed. Crews had to slice chunks of concrete out of the dam, to allow for the Big Dam Bridge’s support columns to be firmly implanted. Some of those triangle-shaped chunks were preserved, and can be seen on the approach to the bridge.
When I arrived in Little Rock, I didn’t know anything about the Big Dam Bridge — but my map had it marked as an attraction. I figured, with a name like the Big Dam Bridge, it was worth going out of the way to see. The catchy name is part of the reason why the project to build the bridge turned into a success. Pulaski County, Arkansas Judge Buddy Villines was dealing with the frustrating task of getting several agencies to work together on the project, and one day proclaimed, “we are going to build that dam bridge!”. That simple declaration got a few laughs, then helped everyone start working together on the project.
The bridge is 8/10 of a mile long, and I was short on time, so I chose to admire it from its southern end, rather than hike to the top.
After leaving Little Rock, I followed Interstate 40 all the way to Memphis, without stopping. With the days dwindling on this trip, I needed to start covering miles quickly.
Here’s a dash-cam time-lapse video of the drive between Little Rock and Memphis: