The Abandoned Roadway

 
Roadway entrance - Arkansas
 
Some of the few remaining wooden roadway planks

 

From 1916-1949, Cars drove across
on 2 narrow wooden one lane roadways
suspended along both sides of the main
bridge structure. With only a thin railing
separating the vehicles from the muddy
river far below, those who were scared
of heights simply didn't travel by car on
this mile long "side car" bridge.

The original plans didn't call for any
automobile roadway, and efforts to add
one were resisted by the railroad until a
Tennessee senator threatened to block
passage of the bridge permit.

The first cars drove across on September
5th, 1917. For six years after that there
was a 25 cent toll fee for using the
roadway.

According to my mother, the planking
would rattle and shake like it was about

to throw you off whenever trains rumbled
overhead, which was almost all the time.

The roadways caught fire in 1928 due to
stray sparks from a train overhead near
the Memphis end. The creosote soaked
planks blazed so fiercely that several
sections of the tracks were twisted loose
by the heat. It was several months before
repairs were completed to the roadway
and cars could use their part of the
bridge again.

The roadways were finally closed and
the planking ripped up in 1949 upon the
opening of the
Memphis-Arkansas
Bridge
, which is still in use today.

But, this roadway isn't the only thing old
and abandoned about the Harahan...

 

(c)1998-2007 by Steve Cox

 
Car roadway - Now abandoned - West Memphis, AR
 
Darryl inspecting the drop

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Another Website (c)1998, 99, 2000, 01, 02, 03 by Steve Cox