MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - From Main Street Memphis to Main Street in West Memphis, the folks behind the Harahan Bridge Project are hoping to connect the two cities by way of a nice walk or bike ride.
The Harahan Bridge has stood strong in downtown Memphis for 96 years. At one time the bridge was the only automobile crossing south of St. Louis. If everything goes according to plan, the bridge will be a new crossing for walkers and bicyclists.
Midtown resident Eric Neimeyer doesn't own a car, but he does own a bike. When he heard about the Harahan Bridge Project, Neimeyer says not only was he overjoyed for bikers like himself, he was also optimistic about what that means for the city.
"I think it'll make Memphis a focal point for bicycle culture," he said. "To see everybody is excited about making the city more bicycle-friendly, I think that's important for any city to move in the right direction."
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton says this was a project the city had to be a part of.
"This is a winner in every sense of the word," said Wharton. "This gives us an opportunity to bring history back to this original rail bridge, so much history."
The mayor says when you can talk about being able to use the bridge as a pedestrian walkway and bicycle trail the advantages are many, such as "a health benefit, tourism benefit, and an aesthetic benefit."
Greg Maxted, Executive Director of the Harahan Bridge Project, says there's also another benefit.
"People just love to be above the water and have those views," he noted. "Walking across the Mississippi with the views is gonna be a great draw."
The total cost of the Harahan Bridge Project is ten million dollars. Maxted says they're hoping to get federal grants to help pay for it, although the City of Memphis may have to pitch in something.
Mayor Wharton says he's going to be guarded in terms of what amount of taxpayer dollars are spent on the project.