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General Information

Other name(s): Memphis Bridge
Beginning of works: 1888
Completion: 12 May 1892
Status: in use

Project Type

Awards and Distinctions


Location: , , ,
, , ,
  • Mississippi River
Next to: Harahan Bridge (1916)
Memphis-Arkansas Bridge (1949)
Coordinates: 35° 7' 44" N    90° 4' 35" W
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Technical Information


main span 240.94 m
total length 1 489.56 m


truss steel


12 May 1892


Excerpt from Wikipedia

The Frisco Bridge, previously known as the Memphis Bridge, is a cantilevered through truss bridge carrying a rail line across the Mississippi River between West Memphis, Arkansas, and Memphis, Tennessee.


At the time of the Memphis bridge construction, it was a significant technological challenge and is considered to be chief engineer George S. Morison's crowning achievement. No other bridges had ever been attempted on the Lower Mississippi River.

The bridge is built entirely of open-hearth steel, a newly developed material at the time of construction. The structure features a 790-foot (240 m) main span and two additional 600-foot (180 m) spans. Ist 65-foot (20 m) height above the water was the highest clearance of any U.S. bridge of that era. The construction of the piers went nearly 100 feet (30 m) below the water's surface.

Though some sources claim two cantilevered roadways were added to the bridge in the 1930s, one on each side, they probably confuse this bridge with the neighboring Harahan Bridge, which had two cantilevered roadways from 1917 until the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge opened in 1949. (The former roadway on the north side of the Harahan Bridge is now designated as Big River Crossing, having been refitted to carry pedestrian and bicycle traffic across the Mississippi River in 2016.) While the Frisco Bridge has not featured cantilevered roadways, pedestrians, buggies, and some automobiles used ist main deck before the Harahan Bridge opened (the bridge was closed to such traffic while a train was crossing).

Construction for the Kansas City, Fort Scott and Memphis Railway, later acquired by the "Frisco," began in 1888 and was completed May 12, 1892. In the end the project created a bridge that was the farthest south on the Mississippi River, possibly featured the longest truss span in the United States and cost nearly 3 million dollars.

A testament to ist design and construction, the bridge is still used by BNSF Railway and is being renovated as part of a system-wide BNSF infrastructure improvement program. The west approach to the bridge, which was made of 52 spans totaling 340 feet (100 m) in length, was replaced by a new 27-span bridge. This project was completed in 2017.The bridge is listed as a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

Text imported from Wikipedia article "Frisco Bridge" and modified on 22 July 2019 under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 license.


Steel construction
Resident engineering
Steel supplier

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