There’s nothing quite like walking over an active, rushing body of water.
[dropcap]Everyone[/dropcap] from bird watchers to marathon trainers can enjoy the Arkansas River on one of four pedestrian bridges. The bridges are part of the Arkansas River Trail, an 88-mile loop snakes across Arkansas—from Little Rock to Conway. The River Trail System connects six museums, 38 parks and more than 5,000 acres of federal, state and local parkland.
This loop would not be possible without the the Big Dam Bridge, Two Rivers Bridge, Junction Bridge and the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge. Below are some interesting facts about each:
Big Dam Bridge
This bridge opened in 2006. Initially there was some controversy over trying to get the plans finalized and active, however, with the push of Judge Buddy Villines, the structure was finally completed in honor of health and fitness. Connecting Murray’s Park and Cook’s Landing Park, this bridge is the longest pedestrian/bicycle bridge ever built in the U.S. and has become a tourist destination. It is also the only bridge built into a dam, as opposed to on top of it.
Two Rivers Park Bridge
This bridge, like the Big Dam Bridge, was also built from scratch. It opened June 2011. The middle section is designed to look like a railway bridge, an ode to the remaining repurposed bridges. The bridge connects to Two Rivers Park, a land mass located at the junction of the Arkansas and Little Maumelle Rivers.
A former railway bridge, this structure was originally constructed in 1884 and connected the northern and southern Union Pacific railway lines. The structure was built at the site of Little Rock’s namesake—“Le Petite Roche.” It reopened to pedestrians in 2008. Connecting Argenta to the River Market, the 100-year-old bridge is believed to be the only lift span bridge to be converted for pedestrian and cyclist usage.
Clinton Presidential Park Bridge
Also known as Rock Island Bridge, the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge connects Little Rock to North Little Rock near the Clinton Presidential Center. Like the Junction Bridge, this bridge was once a railway bridge built in 1899. Operating under the Choctaw and Memphis Railroad, the railway directed traffic to the Choctaw Station, now home to the Clinton School of Public Service. Due to funding issues, the bridge took longer to build than expected. Former President Bill Clinton dedicated the bridge on October 2, 2011.
What are you waiting for? Now is a better time than ever to get out and explore.