A variety of bigshots will gather at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, on the Little Rock side of the Big Dam Bridge to mark the 10th anniversary of what is said to be “the world’s longest pedestrian-and-bicycle bridge built and designed solely for that purpose.” It is 4,226 feet long.
The bridge cost $12 million — $8 million in federal money, $4 million in county road and bridge money and $500,000 from Central Arkansas Water.
It’s a success, if appreciation is a measure. The county figures some 8.9 million people (plus dogs and horses and other critters) have crossed it.
Soreheads no doubt still can be found about the expenditure for this and other aesthetic additions to the city. (Probably somebody in Paris still thinks that godawful pile of metal was a silly expenditure.) But an industry has developed along serving people who use the river trails. The bridge links northern and southern routes. The outings attract many visitors, not just local users.
I long ago saw the wisdom in County Judge Buddy Villines’ advocacy for this project and the complementary foot-and-bike crossing upstream at Three Rivers Park.
So Happy Birthday.
Now if we could just get the city of Little Rock to close that gap in the river trail that currently uses a sidewalk in front of the Episcopal Collegiate School. Mayor Stodola continues to press after years of futility for a windfall of money to build a cantilevered trail on the cliff behind the Dillard Department Stores headquarters. There’s resistance to that location from the company, though I think they are amenable to a pathway on the Cantrell Road side of the property. Why Stodola is not is another question.