While in Little Rock, Arkansas we did a lot of exploring, and enjoyed checking out the Arkansas River. One of the cool things we saw was the Junction Bridge near the Clinton Presidential Library. Originally built as a railroad bridge in 1884, Junction Bridge was then rebuilt in the 1970’s and was eventually converted into a pedestrian bridge in 2008. It is a life-span bridge crossing the Arkansas River and ties together the towns of Little Rock and North Little Rock.
This $5.8 million rehab project resulted in the 360-foot lift span being permanently fixed at thirty-eight feet above the river, with access provided by stairs or a glass-enclosed elevator. About eighty percent of the project was supplied by federal funds, with Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Pulaski County providing the remainder, as well as ongoing maintenance funding. The Junction Bridge was dedicated for its new use on May 17, 2008, and serves as an important link in the Arkansas River Trail system.
Today Junction Bridge is part of the Arkansas River Trail, and connects the popular River Market with the Argenta Historic District, ALLTEL Arena, and Dickey-Stephens Park. The bridge also completes a loop on the Arkansas River Trail formed by trails on the north and south sides of the river and the pedestrian-friendly Big Dam Bridge located seven miles to the west.
Since it’s completion in 2008, Junction Bridge has won a couple of awards! The Pedestrian Conversion Project was awarded the 08 Best Transportation Project and was also awarded the 08 Merit for Public Design.
One of the best parts of visiting the Junction Bridge is the fact that is part of Riverfront Park. This is such a cool park and definitely worth visiting. There are great views of the bridge and lots of places to take photos, including the silly one above.
Besides the great view of the bridge, you will also find that the history pavilion of the park takes you on a trip back in time. It is also home to an Indian Head statue which was carved by Peter Toth in 1975. This statue was one of approximately sixty Native American likenesses that he carved in all 50 states. The statue represents a tribute to Native Americans.
Riverfront Park is also home to more than 100 works of art across its 30+ acre campus. The highest density is found in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden. Sadly we didn’t have much time to check out the art sculptures, but did have a wonderful time walking around, reading some plaques, and watching the kids run around. Even our doggie seemed to have fun being out in the open air.
200 Ottenheimer Plaza Little Rock, AR 72201
I-30 exit 141A, immediately south of river. Bear right, following signs for 2nd St. After two blocks turn right onto Rock St., then drive two blocks to Ottenheimer Plaza and Riverfront Park. You’ll see the bridge and parking to the left.
From the south
I-30 exit 141A. Follow signs for Clinton Ave. The ramp merges onto 2nd St., which quickly dead-ends. Turn left, then left again onto Clinton Ave. Drive 4 blocks. Turn right onto Rock St., then drive two blocks to Ottenheimer Plaza and Riverfront Park. Bridge and parking on left.