Celebrate the Big Four Bridge’s 10th anniversary

Check out these historic photos of the Big Four Bridge.

big four bridge

We can’t decide what time of day the bridge is most beautiful.

Photo via Waterfront Park

Ten years ago, the decommissioned railroad bridge hovering over the Ohio River in Waterfront Park was known as “the bridge to nowhere.” Today, the Big Four Bridge sees millions of visitors every year on foot and bike.

Throughout 2023, Waterfront Park will host events to celebrate the 10th anniversarydetails to come. In the meantime, enjoy its night lighting and take a look at the bridge’s history.

1909 Big Four Bridge

The bridge in 1909 from “Baird’s History of Clark County, Indiana”

  • 1895 | The railroad bridge is constructed to transport freight and passengers across the Ohio River. It is sold to the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railwaybetter known as the Big Four Railroad.
  • 1929 | The bridge is reconstructed as a truss bridge (see: interconnected triangles framing the bridge) to better handle the weight of train traffic.
  • 1969 | Due to a railway merger between the Big Four Railroad’s parent company and the Penn Central, the bridge becomes inactive. Its approach spans are sold for scrap, giving it the appearance of a bridge leading to nowhere.

The bridge in 1975.

Photo by Jack Boucher via Wikimedia Commons

  • 1990s | The Waterfront Master Plan is developed with plans to repurpose the Big Four into a pedestrian bridge connecting to Jeffersonville, IN.
  • 2013 | The city opens the bridge to pedestrian traffic and it is estimated that 1.5 million people cross it each year.

Bonus: The winner of USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for best riverwalk will be announced on Friday, Feb. 17. Don’t worry, we’ll let you know if Waterfront Park wins.

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