Pulaski County Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge -- Murray Lock and Dam

Pulaski County, Arkansas
Source: Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC)


Pedestrian and bicycle paths in Pulaski County, Arkansas, were divided by the Arkansas River, which left the fourteen miles of paths disconnected and incomplete. Safe crossings were few and far between. Citizens, local governmental officials, and several local organizations supported the idea of creating a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the Arkansas River.

Beginning in 2000, Pulaski County began campaigning for funds for a bridge. By 2004 they had received enough grant money and donations to begin the project. Construction of the Pulaski County Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge—Murray Lock and Dam, or as it is known, the Big Dam Bridge began in the fall of 2004 and completed in September 2006.

Before the Big Dam Bridge was built, the two bridges that connected both sides of the river were about six miles downstream, in downtown Little Rock. These bridges had sidewalks, but neither one had bicycle facilities.

The Pulaski County Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge Murray Lock and Dam.

The Pulaski County Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge—Murray Lock and Dam.
Photo by Pulaski County.


Pulaski County teamed up with the Army Corps of Engineers to begin construction of a pedestrian and bicycle bridge to connect the north and south sides of the Arkansas River. The bridge is over 0.75 miles long, 14 feet wide, equipped with pedestrian-level LED lights, and has eight observation areas with benches. With the completion of the Big Dam Bridge, over fourteen miles of trails along both sides of the Arkansas River are now connected. The bridge is now part of the Arkansas River Trail System.

Evaluation and Results

In conjunction with the Pulaski County Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge opening, several bicycling and 5K run/walk events have been held. An informal count that was held on a weekend eight months after the bridge opened indicated that nearly 4,000 people used the bridge that day. City park officials on both sides of the river have also reported increased usage of the parks since the bridge opening.

The success of the Big Dam Bridge was a catalyst for another project—the Two Rivers Bridge, which was completed in 2011. Two Rivers Bridge is located one mile upstream from the Big Dam Bridge and connects the Arkansas River Trail with 88 miles of proposed trail. There are now a total of four bike/ped bridges that cross the Arkansas River. The Clinton Presidential Park Bridge was also completed in 2011. The Clinton Bridge, located near the Clinton Presidential Center, was converted from an historic railroad bridge (Rock Island Bridge) and now provides an active transportation connection between Little Rock and North Little Rock.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The Big Dam Bridge and the Arkansas River Trail system have become highly regarded amenities in the City of Little Rock that provide a safe and convenient crossing for bicyclists. The community has recognized that opportunities for bicycling and walking can help improve health and the quality of transportation options.

Costs and Funding

The project budget for the Big Dam Bridge, which was constructed on top the existing Murray Lock and Dam, was $11.34 million. Using this existing infrastructure as the foundation for the bridge saved approximately $10 million in construction costs.


Sherman Smith
Director, Pulaski County Public Works
3200 Brown Street
Little Rock, AK 72204

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